Rafiah crossing
Rafiah crossingFlash90

Israel has been holding secret negotiations with the Hamas terror movement since the end of its Operation Pillar of Defense, Channel 2 News reported on Friday.

According to the report, the Egyptian-mediated talks are being held as part of the ceasefire reached between the sides at the end of counterterrorism operation in November and which said that both sides will refrain from attacking one another and the sides will work to reach understandings.

Channel 2 News indicated that an Israeli delegation that arrived in Cairo on Thursday came to Egypt for the purpose of holding talks with Hamas, through Egyptian mediators.

Until now, the negotiations have been conducted under a veil of secrecy, said the report, which added that according to the understandings reached between the sides, Israel will agree that the Rafiah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt be opened for the passage of commercial goods and construction materials.

As well, one of the items being discussed in the talks between Israel and Hamas is to open the border crossings for the transfer of agricultural materials. At the same time, reports in the Arab media have indicated that one of the issues around which the meetings revolve is the terrorist prisoners being held in Israeli prisons.

Despite the constant claims by Gaza’s terrorist rulers that Israel is imposing a “siege” on the region, Israel has consistently allowed humanitarian aid into Gaza, approving internationally funded and monitored projects in the region. Since 2011, 235 projects have been approved. In September 2012 alone, 16 new projects were approved.

Israel has also supported the private sector in Gaza, and has approved the transfer of raw materials for private sector construction, including roof tiles, building stones, dry wall, mosaics, adhesives, plaster, etc.

Hamas, however, has not been satisfied with the aid it receives from Israel and has been trying to punish the residents of Gaza by attempting to reduce the scope of Israeli goods entering the region.

With Israel tightly supervising the materials which enter Gaza through its border crossings and with the borders with Egypt being closed, Hamas has smuggled in materials, including weapons and explosives, through underground tunnels which connect between Gaza and Egypt.

The terror group is making at least a million dollars a day in “tax” money from Gaza smugglers, providing “protection” to smugglers and collecting payments for the service, then using the smugglers to order goods for their own use.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)