Israel confirmed Friday morning that it had reached an agreement for a truce with the Hamas terror organization, hours after Arab media outlets reported on the deal.
A senior Israeli official confirmed to Army Radio – Galey Tzahal that the Israeli government had indeed signed on to the deal, which would soften economic sanctions on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip in exchange for an end to incendiary bomb attacks on Israeli border towns and farm land.
As part of the agreement, Israel will expand the fishing area open to Gazan boats to 15 miles from the shore. Dozens of boats confiscated for straying from the approved fishing area will be returned as part of the deal.
In addition, Israel will resume the transfer of fuel to Gaza through the Kerem Shalom border crossing, which was closed on Tuesday in response to the ongoing balloon terrorism.
The deal, which was brokered by the Egyptian government and the United Nations, aims to end the regular attacks on Israeli border towns and farm land by Hamas terror cells, which have used balloons and kites to fly incendiary bombs over the frontier into Israeli territory.
A senior Israeli official said that the agreement would end Hamas attacks – or would be scuttled.
“In response to the request of Egypt and the UN, Israel will permit the return of the expanding fishing area and the transfer of fuel – in exchange for Hamas agreeing that the violence against Israel will stop. If Hamas won’t stand by its obligations, Israel will restore the sanctions.”
At least 20 fires caused by incendiary balloons sent from Gaza were burning in southern Israel on Thursday.
Some officials put the number of fires set from Thursday morning until late Thursday afternoon at 24, the largest number of fires started by the arson balloons in one day since the attacks became an almost daily occurrence last spring.
Yisrael Beytenu chief and former Defense Minister Avidgor Liberman blasted Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Friday morning for the government’s decision to accept the deal.
“This morning again, as if part of some recurring ritual, Hamas members thanked Binyamin Netanyahu for all of the concessions he gave them as part of the surrender agreement.”