An Arab newspaper reported on Saturday that Israel and Qatar are hammering out a deal that would allow Hamas to operate a sea crossing between Gaza and Cyprus.
According to the Lebanese Al Akhbar, the prospective seaport is part of a wider Egyptian-brokered cease-fire between Hamas and Israel. While Hamas demands that the crossing be monitored through video cameras, Israel wants both Israeli forces and international elements to monitor the seaport to prevent weapons smuggling.
The report comes as a long-term cease-fire between Israel and Hamas appears to be gaining traction. A central part of the deal has been Qatar's efforts to rehabilitate the Gaza Strip. Qatar, which has poured billions into Gaza, is home to former prominent members of Hamas including ex-leader Khaled Mashaal.
As part of the emerging cease-fire, Gaza's civil servants got their first paycheck in months on Friday in a payout funded by Qatar.
The cash was delivered into Israeli territory from Jordan, through the Allenby Bridge, and then relayed into Gaza through the Erez Crossing.
The transfer was agreed to after Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas refused to pay the salaries of PA employees in Gaza. Israel agreed to facilitate the transfer on the condition that it be carried out by the UN.
Israel is closely monitoring how the money is spent, as there is concern in Israel that the Qatari money will be spent on the upkeep of Hamas's terror array.