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Hamas threatens to reescalate with Israel, refuses to link prisoners swap deal to Gaza reconstruction

Hamas’ meeting with the UN envoy in Gaza ended on a sour note, portending further escalation with Israel.
A Palestinian pedlar walks with bags of cotton candy past the rubble of a building destroyed during the May 2021 conflict between Hamas and Israel in al-Rimal neighborhood, Gaza City, Gaza Strip, June 10, 2021.

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Israel eased some economic restrictions imposed on the Gaza Strip on June 20, for the first time since the round of violence with the Palestinian factions came to an end on May 21. There are, however, some indicators that things might head toward reescalation — not militarily but through popular movements.

In a June 20 press statement, the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) General Authority for Civil Affairs in Gaza announced that Israel allowed Palestinians that were stuck in Jordan to return home through the Erez crossing. It also allowed the resumption of incoming and outgoing mail to the Gaza Strip, the export of agricultural crops and sewing factory products. This comes after a ban that entered into effect on May 11.

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