Friday, July 21, 2017
AMID TEMPLE MOUNT TUMULT, THE WHO, WHAT AND WHY OF ITS WAQF RULERS.
28 And when these things begin to come to pass,(ALL THE PROPHECY SIGNS FROM THE BIBLE) then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption (RAPTURE) draweth nigh.
29 And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree,(ISRAEL) and all the trees;(ALL INDEPENDENT COUNTRIES)
30 When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand.(ISRAEL LITERALLY BECAME AND INDEPENDENT COUNTRY JUST BEFORE SUMMER IN MAY 14,1948.)
3 A fire devoureth (ATOMIC BOMB) before them;(RUSSIAN-ARAB-MUSLIM ARMIES AGAINST ISRAEL) and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them.
30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.(ATOMIC BOMB AFFECT)
12 And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet,(DISOLVED FROM ATOMIC BOMB) and their eyes shall consume away in their holes,(DISOLVED FROM ATOMIC BOMB) and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.(DISOLVED FROM ATOMIC BOMB)(BECAUSE NUKES HAVE BEEN USED ON ISRAELS ENEMIES)(GOD PROTECTS ISRAEL AND ALWAYS WILL)
13 And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the LORD shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbour, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbour.(1/2-3 BILLION DIE IN WW3)(THIS IS AN ATOMIC BOMB EFFECT)
47 And say to the forest of the south, Hear the word of the LORD; Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will kindle a fire in thee, and it shall devour every green tree in thee, and every dry tree: the flaming flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from the south to the north shall be burned therein.
18 Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD'S wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land.
1 For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven;(FROM ATOMIC BOMBS) and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.
And here are the bounderies of the land that Israel will inherit either through war or peace or God in the future. God says its Israels land and only Israels land. They will have every inch God promised them of this land in the future.
Egypt east of the Nile River, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, The southern part of Turkey and the Western Half of Iraq west of the Euphrates. Gen 13:14-15, Psm 105:9,11, Gen 15:18, Exe 23:31, Num 34:1-12, Josh 1:4.ALL THIS LAND ISRAEL WILL DEFINATELY OWN IN THE FUTURE, ITS ISRAELS NOT ISHMAELS LAND.12 TRIBES INHERIT LAND IN THE FUTURE
Netanyahu rushes to security meet as Temple Mount tensions surge-Prime minister convenes security chiefs upon arrival back in Israel as they continue to debate removing controversial metal detectors from holy site-By Times of Israel staff July 20, 2017, 7:53 pm
Returning to Israel on Thursday from a visit to Hungary, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rushed straight from the airport to the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv to meet his security chiefs in a bid to defuse mounting Muslim anger over metal detectors on the Temple Mount.The meeting comes ahead of Friday prayers when tens of thousands of worshipers are expected to converge on the the flashpoint holy site, sparking fears of bloodshed, a week after the killing of two Israeli officers at the site by three Arab Israelis.At the meeting, scheduled for 8 p.m., officials are set discuss whether to remove the detectors that were placed at the Temple Mount after the killings that were launched from within the holy site.There are divisions among the Israelis, with the police and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan in favor of leaving the metal detectors in place, while the Shin Bet and the IDF favor removing them, fearing widespread unrest if they remain.Police were preparing for the eventuality that the security officials will decided that the metal detectors remain in place, Channel 2 reported. Massive reinforcements have been sent to Jerusalem, while police are also said to be planning to limiting the number of Muslim worshipers allowed to enter the Temple Mount and blocking entry to the capital from other areas of the country.Thousands of troops and police are slated to be deployed in Jerusalem and the West Bank, according to a Channel 2 news report.Earlier Erdan, whose ministry includes responsibility for the Israel Police, said the metal detectors are essential to maintain security, despite a Muslim call for mass protests in the city if they are not removed.Erdan told Army Radio that Netanyahu will rule on the issue after he holds the security consultations.But Erdan rejected Arab accusations that new Israeli security measures are an attempt to expand control over the site and insisted they are necessary to carry out proper security checks.“The Israeli police needs these metal detectors so the security checks can give a proper response to the security considerations,” he said. “I assume there are contacts internationally to try to calm the situation, but in my eyes there is no reason why the situation should not be calm.”Earlier Thursday, police released videos of the terrorists and an accomplice smuggling the weapons used in the attack onto the Temple Mount without going through any security checks.Since the appearance of the detectors there have been daily protests outside the Lion’s Gate entrance to the Temple Mount compound, the scene of the deadly terror attack. Many Muslim worshipers have refused to pass through the detectors and have instead prayed outside the gate.There have also been violent clashes between rioters and police in various East Jerusalem neighborhoods.Hamas on Thursday called for mass protests on Friday against the metal detectors.In a televised speech, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh urged Palestinians to participate in a “day of rage” against the stepped up security measures, which were imposed after a Palestinian shooting attack that left two Israeli police officers dead.Israel initially closed the site, known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as the Temple Mount following last Friday’s shooting attack. The compound, which houses the Al-Aqsa mosque, was reopened Sunday with metal detectors installed, a step Palestinians protest as a change to the longstanding status quo.On Wednesday both Palestinian and Israeli sources said a US-brokered compromise would see the walk-through metal detector gates cleared from the holy site as demanded by Jordanian and Palestinian clerics. Instead, police will use hand-held metal detector wands (similar to those employed by security guards at Israeli malls), but only on those deemed to be suspicious.Israeli security officials have yet to agree to implementation of the plan, according to reports at the time.
Amid Temple Mount tumult, the who, what and why of its Waqf rulers-Jordan lost control of Jerusalem in 1967, but is now at the heart of a crisis that threatens to plunge the city into violence-By Dov Lieber July 20, 2017, 6:52 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL
As tensions ratchet up in Jerusalem’s Old City following Israel’s installation of metal detectors at gates to the Temple Mount in response to a terror attack there, attention has turned to the byzantine warren of authorities that control and manage the ultra-sensitive holy site.While Israel controls access to the compound, inside its nine gates the Jerusalem Awqaf Department — sometimes called the Islamic Religious Endowments Authority, or simply the Waqf — exerts near total control.The Waqf is entirely controlled and funded by the Jordanian government. It administers daily life on the Temple Mount, which includes the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Dome of the Rock, archaeological sites, museums and schools.Since Israel captured the site in 1967, an uneasy relationship between authorities and the Waqf has been maintained, with both saying they are committed to keeping the delicate status quo that allows non-Muslims to visit, but not worship, on the Mount.For many non-Muslims, both the Waqf and the status quo remain a mystery, and questions abound as to how the body has come to wield such power in a city that is ostensibly completely under the control of the state of Israel.-Flexing their muscles-The Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism, the place where the two ancient Jewish Temples stood. It is considered the third holiest site in Islam, the spot where the prophet Mohammed ascended to heaven.Ever-present acrimony between Israeli officials and the Waqf have come to a head since July 14, when three Arab-Israeli men opened fire on policemen guarding just outside the holy site, killing two. According to Israeli authorities, the trio stashed their guns in the Temple Mount and Israel quickly closed access to the site — the first time in decades it was shuttered on a Friday — leading to outcry from Muslims around the world. On Thursday, police release video footage showing how the guns were smuggled into the holy site.When it reopened on Sunday, police had installed metal detectors at two of the gates, and other gates were closed. Arab officials have criticized the measure as breaking the status quo — and part of an alleged process of a slow takeover by Israel of the site — and the Waqf has refused to enter the site, encouraging other Muslims to boycott as well, leading to protest prayers outside the gates that have devolved into near-daily clashes.Israel argues the security measures are necessary in the wake of Friday’s “defiling” of the site by the killers, to ensure such shooting attacks do not occur at the sensitive holy site in the future.The ensuing standoff has threatened to plunge the tinderbox city back into the throes of violence. Israel and Jordan are reportedly in talks to come up with a compromise agreement, but in the meantime both the Israeli authorities and Waqf officials are holding to their positions — Israel is not removing the metal detectors, and the Waqf is discouraging worshipers from entering the compound so long as they remain.So what’s a waqf anyway? To understand the purpose of the institution known as the Jerusalem Waqf, it helps to know what a waqf is.In Islamic law, a person may decide to donate a property and its revenues to the public for charitable or religious purposes. This property then becomes a waqf, or holding, in perpetuity.Examples of waqfs (awqaf is the Arabic plural) can be homes, fields, water reservoirs, schools, orphanages and mosques.In Israel, the best known waqf property is the Temple Mount, known to Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif. For Muslims, the entire esplanade is considered a mosque.As the modern state grew in the Middle East through 19th and 20th centuries, these properties were taken under the authority of governments.Until 1917, waqf properties in Jerusalem were controlled by the Ottoman Empire.During the British Mandate period, responsibility for the awqaf was put under the control of the Supreme Muslim Council—the body of Palestinian Muslims appointed by the British colonial government to administer the Sharia courts and awqaf.In 1948, when the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan took over the West Bank and East Jerusalem, it transferred responsibility for the city’s awqaf, including the Temple Mount compound, to its own ministry of awqaf.When Israel conquered East Jerusalem in 1967, then defense minister Moshe Dayan decided it would be best if the Jordanian Awqaf Ministry would continue to administer the site, in order to avoid a larger conflagration with the Muslim world. Jews would be allowed to visit, but not to pray, he decided — utilizing the rabbinical consensus in Jewish religious law that Jews should not set foot atop the Mount for fear of defiling the temples’ most sacred space, the Holy of Holies.From then on, it was agreed that Israel would be responsible for security around the perimeter of the site, while the Jordanian-controlled Jerusalem Waqf would be responsible for what happens within the compound.This situation continued informally until 1994, when Israel and Jordan signed a peace treaty.Article 9 of the treaty states: “Israel respects the present special role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in Muslim Holy shrines in Jerusalem. When negotiations on the permanent status will take place, Israel will give high priority to the Jordanian historic role in these shrines.”Jordan officially separated from the West Bank in 1988, in order to allow for Palestinian leadership to take over, but not from East Jerusalem.Jordan argued it would not allow a “protection gap” of Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem while the PLO and Israel were in negotiations over the future of the city.Up until 1994, the grand muftis of Jerusalem—who are considered the leading religious figures for Palestinians—were appointed by Jordan. But in a deal with the PLO, the role was transferred to Palestinian leadership that year.The current Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Muhammad Hussein, who has played a central role in opposing Israeli measures since the shooting attack on Friday, was appointed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in 2006, and his salary is paid by the PA.Jordan also considers itself to have a special historical relationship with Jerusalem, especially Al-Aqsa Mosque, since the time of the British Mandate.While the Supreme Muslim Council (SMC) was in charge of administering the site, the then ruler of Mecca and leader of the revolt against the Ottoman Empire Hussein ibn Ali al-Hashimi, whose son became the first king of Jordan, was accepted as its custodian by the SMC leadership. This custodianship has been passed down by to subsequent Jordanian kings.From 1921 to 2010, the Royal Jordanian Hashemite family spent over $1 billion on maintaining the Awqaf administration, according to the a report by independent Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre, located in Amman.A senior official the Jerusalem Waqf told the Times of Israel it currently employes 900 people.Today, the Jerusalem Waqf controls not only the Temple Mount, but also schools, orphanages, Islamic libraries and museums, mosques, the Sharia courts and many residential and commercial properties across the city of Jerusalem.
Israel expects Turkey to condemn Temple Mount attack, Rivlin tells Erdogan-President speaks to counterpart in contentious call over objections of Foreign Ministry which opposes Turkish role in mitigating Jerusalem unrest-By Times of Israel staff July 20, 2017, 8:06 pm
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin spoke by phone to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday in a bid to help calm tensions surrounding the Temple Mount despite objections from the Israeli Foreign Ministry to involving Ankara in the dispute.The call, reportedly at Erdogan’s request, came following nearly a week of unrest in Jerusalem in the wake of a deadly terror attack last Friday by three Arab Israeli assailants who emerged from the Temple Mount and fatally shot two Israeli police officers.Israel then temporarily closed the site amid an investigation into the attack after police said the terrorists had stashed their weapons inside the compound, and reopened it two days later with new security measures in place, including metal detectors and cameras.Police footage released Thursday showed how the weapons were smuggled onto the site with the assistance of a fourth, as-yet-unidentified man.In the phone call, the president told Erdogan that Israel expected Turkey to condemn the terror attack, just as Israel condemns terror attacks in Turkey, “with the understanding that terror was terror wherever it took place; in Jerusalem, in Istanbul, or in Paris,” according to a press statement issued by his office.Rivlin told Erdogan that the terror attack Friday on the Temple Mount “a site holy for all – was intolerable, and crossed a red line which endangered the ability of all of us to live together.”The Temple Mount is the holiest in Judaism and the third-holiest in Islam which is known to Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif and houses the al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock.Meanwhile, The Turkish leader urged Israel to remove the metal detectors as soon as possible.“Within the framework of freedom of religion and worship there can be no impediment for Muslims” entering the holy site, the Anadolu news agency quoted Erdogan as telling Rivlin.“Given the importance that Haram al-Sharif carries for the whole Islamic world, the metal detectors put in place by Israel should be removed in the shortest possible time and an end put to the tension,” Erdogan added.Erdogan expressed “sadness” in the call to Rivlin over the “casualties in the incident.”According to a Channel 2 report Thursday, the Foreign Ministry and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opposed the call, fearing that it would give the Turkish president, an ally of Palestinian terror group Hamas and a fierce Israel critic, a role in the efforts to de-escalate tensions at the site and would only hurt Jerusalem’s position.Turkey’s perceived attempt to insert itself into the situation would only hinder American and Jordanian efforts to calm tensions.Rivlin, according to the report, however, decided to go ahead with the conversation, because he believes that the presidents of the allied nations — despite their differences and past or present animosities — should speak and that it was unacceptable to reject requests for dialogue from a counterpart.Israel’s move to shutter the Temple Mount for two days on Friday drew condemnation, including from Turkey with a government spokesman saying it was “utterly unacceptable” and amounted to a “crime against humanity” and a “crime against freedom of religion.”The closure also set off protests and riots near the site and around Jerusalem. Israeli officials were worried tensions over the past few days may come to a head on Friday — the Muslim holy day — should the metal detectors remain in place.Also, Turkish presidential spokesman İbrahim Kalın said Thursday that Israel’s security measures were considered by Turkey to be “attempts to change the status of al-Aqsa mosque, and we are concerned about that.” He called to preserve the status quo at the site and urged the international community to intervene.In the call Thursday, Rivlin assured Erdogan that Israel was maintaining the status quo at the holy site under which Israel controls access to the site and the Waqf Islamic trust set up by Jordan administers activities inside the compound. Non-Muslims are allowed to visit but are prohibited from prayer.He further explained that the security measures Israel implemented on the Temple Mount “were intended to ensure that such acts of terror could not be repeated, and that Israel was committed to safeguarding the lives of all the citizens who visited the holy places.”Earlier this week, Foreign Ministry director-general Yuval Rotem called in the Turkish ambassador, at the direction of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to express Israel’s anger at Turkey’s statements following the attack and demanded that Turkey stop the incitement.Netanyahu said Wednesday that Israel was seeking to “solve this crisis in the quietest way possible and to bring back the calm.“We talk with the Arab world and we explain that there is absolutely no change to the status quo” on the holy site, he said during an official state visit in Hungary.Jordan has said ending tensions is in the hands of Israel which should immediately reopen the shrine without any hindrances.Israel is in talks with Jordan over the situation, according to the Waqf.Turkey and Israel reconciled last year after nearly a decade of a break-down in ties that ruptured following the May 2010 IDF raid on a Turkish vessel seeking to break Israel’s military blockade of the Gaza Strip, in which 10 Turks were killed.Erdogan has over the years often criticized Israel sharply, issuing incendiary statements including in May when he called the country “racist and discriminatory” over a bill that would have banned religious institutions from using loudspeakers at certain hours, a move seen as targeting Muslim mosques who issue a pre-dawn call to prayer.Erdogan accused Israel of practices similar to South African apartheid — remarks that caused Israel to angrily describe him as a “serial human rights violator.”
UN Mideast envoy calls for de-escalation of Temple Mount tensions-Special Coordinator Nickolay Mladenov says ‘moderate voices’ should speak up against those trying to fuel unrest-By Times of Israel staff July 20, 2017, 5:37 pm
The United Nations’ special coordinator for the Middle East peace process Nickolay Mladenov expressed concern on Thursday regarding the “recent surge in tensions and violence” at the Temple Mount.The statement comes nearly a week after a deadly terror attack at the holy site by three Arab Israelis who killed two Israeli policeman, setting off days of unrest in the Israeli capital.“I am deeply concerned by the recent surge in tensions and violence around the holy esplanade in the Old City of Jerusalem,” Mladenov said in a statement, calling on “all concerned parties to de-escalate the situation.”The UN envoy said he welcomed repeated Israeli assurances that the status quo at the Temple Mount would be upheld — amid Palestinian accusations that the Israeli government was trying to change the delicate balance at the site where Israel controls access and the Waqf Islamic trust set up by Jordan administers activities inside the compound. Non-Muslims are allowed to visit but are prohibited from prayer.“I welcome the commitment of Israeli Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu to uphold and respect the status quo at the holy sites, and Palestinian [Authority] President [Mahmoud] Abbas’ firm condemnation of violence, specifically the deadly attack on two Israeli policemen on 14 July,” he said.Abbas denounced the attack but also slammed the Israeli government for its two-day closure of the site — known to Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif compound, which includes the Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock sanctuary — following the attack and Israel’s subsequent security installations including metal detectors and cameras when it reopened Sunday. The Temple Mount is the holiest place for Jews, as the site of the biblical temples, and the third holiest for Muslims, as the site of Al-Aqsa Mosque.The increased security measures were taken after police said the three Arab Israeli attackers who emerged armed from the compound and shot dead two police officers just outside on Friday had stashed their weapons on the holy site.On Thursday, police released video footage showing how the killers and an accomplice got the guns into the Temple Mount compound.Muslim worshipers have been protesting the new security measures, saying the move breaks the status quo agreement between Jerusalem and Amman, a charge Israel has rejected.Abbas’s Fatah party also organized a “Day of Rage” on Wednesday against the move, with rioters clashing with Israeli police at sites around Jerusalem.Waqf officials have boycotted the site in protest and have called on other Muslims to do the same. Several clashes have broken out following protest prayers next to the metal detectors.Officials are worried that tensions may come to a head on Friday — the Muslim holy day — should the metal detectors remain in place.Mladenov, however, said Thursday he hoped Netanyahu’s and Abbas’s “affirmations will contribute to resolving the concerns of all parties and put an end to the provocative rhetoric that has added to the escalation over the past week.”He also made special note of the role of Jordan “and the historical role of King Abdullah II, as custodian of the Muslim and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem” in helping to de-escalate tensions.Tensions between Israel and Jordan, who signed a peace treaty in 1994, have been high since the attack amid an Israeli investigation into suspicions the three terrorists who carried out the attack last week received help from Waqf officials. Israel has also strongly rejected a statement by the Jordanian parliament speaker who praised the terrorists — all from the northern Israeli town of Umm al-Fahm — saying they had “sowed and watered the pure land” and hailing “the sacrifice of the young Palestinians who are still fighting in the name of the nation.”Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein lashed out at the Jordanian official in a video message this week, saying: “It’s inconceivable that such a senior figure from a country we have peace with would dare encourage the murder of Israeli citizens. If you’re unable to condemn terror attacks, just keep quiet.”The Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, meanwhile, said the key to restoring calm is to have Israel respect the “historic and legal status” at the shrine. Safadi told ambassadors from Europe and Asia that ending tensions is in the hands of Israel which he said should immediately reopen the shrine without any hindrances, according to a report in the Jordanian news agency Petra.Mladenov said he called “on all concerned parties to de-escalate the situation and on moderate voices to speak up against those who try to fuel tensions.”
Never again,’ declares Netanyahu at Hungarian Holocaust memorial-Prime minister visits ‘Shoes on the Danube’ site, places a small stone brought with him from Jerusalem-By Times of Israel staff July 20, 2017, 5:26 pm
As he brought his official visit to Hungary to an end Thursday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stopped at the “Shoes on the Danube Bank” Holocaust memorial in Budapest where he laid a small stone he had brought with him from Jerusalem.The memorial consists of 60 pairs of period shoes made out of iron to commemorate the hundreds of Jews who were brought to the spot by members of the Arrow Cross, a Hungarian fascist movement at the time. They were ordered to remove their shoes and then were shot so that their bodies fell into the river.Netanyahu visited the site on his way from Budapest to the airport ahead of his flight back to Israel at the end of his three-day visit. The prime minister was accompanied by his wife and United Torah Judaism party MK Yisrael Eichler, who read a chapter of Psalms.“This place expresses in such a tragic but also a clear way, the change in Jewish fate,” Netanyahu said. He explained he had brought a stone from Mount Herzl cemetery in Jerusalem, named after Theodor Herzl, the Austrian-Hungarian journalist considered the father of modern Zionism and whose tomb lies at the site in the Israeli capital.“I brought a stone here from Mount Herzl, (Herzl) who was born in this city, and brought about the rebirth of Israel, and this stone, from Mount Herzl, from Israel, in memory of the victims here, symbolizes the rebirth of Israel and our absolute commitment that this disaster will never fall upon us again,” he said.The laying of stones at graves and memorial locations is a Jewish tradition dating back centuries and is intended, among other things, to indicate that a visitor had been at the site.(Hungary’s Nazi-allied regime instituted anti-Semitic laws modeled on Germany’s Nuremberg laws beginning in 1938. After German tanks rolled into Budapest in 1944, Nazi-installed Hungarian leaders ordered the mass deportation of Jews to Auschwitz. Some 600,000 Hungarian Jews were killed during the war, through deportation to death camps or in massacres on Hungarian soil.)-Earlier in the day Netanyahu met leaders of the Hungarian Jewish community.Netanyahu “expressed his gratitude for their warm welcome and reaffirmed that Jews everywhere have the right to live in safety and security,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.The prime minister told representatives from ultra-Orthodox, Reform, and liberal streams of Hungarian Jewry that he believed his visit to their country would strengthen their ties with Israel. Netanyahu also told the representatives that the Hungarian government was committed to maintaining a thriving Jewish community in the country.
Power-sharing deal between former foes taking shape in Gaza-Emerging agreement between Hamas rulers and nemesis Mohammad Dahlan shows promise as supporters stage rally for former strongman-By Fares Akram and Mohammed Daraghmeh July 20, 2017, 9:02 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — A power-sharing deal between two former arch foes is slowly taking shape in Gaza and could lead to big changes in the Hamas-ruled territory, including an easing of a decade-long border blockade.In the latest sign that the Egypt-backed understandings are moving forward, Hamas permitted more than 2,000 supporters of its former nemesis, Mohammed Dahlan, to stage a rally in Gaza City on Thursday. They held up banners with large photos of the ex-Gaza strongman and signs reading, “Thank you, Dahlan.”Dahlan backers also opened an office in Gaza last month as a springboard for political activity and began disbursing $2 million in Dahlan-procured aid from the United Arab Emirates to Gaza’s poor.All involved appear to benefit from the new deal for Gaza, described in detail by key players. — Egypt, which is battling Islamic extremist insurgents in the Sinai Peninsula next to Gaza, hopes to contain the Islamic terror group Hamas through new security arrangements. — Dahlan, forced into exile after falling out with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in 2010, is poised to launch a comeback and advance his Palestinian leadership ambitions. — Hamas gets a chance to prolong its rule with a promised easing of Gaza’s stifling border blockade. Egypt and Israel had imposed the closure after Hamas seized Gaza in a violent 2007 takeover that included battles with forces loyal to Dahlan.The three-way agreement aims to revive Gaza’s battered economy and restore a sense of normalcy for two million Gazans, who have largely been barred from travel and trade for the past decade and have endured rolling power cuts, most recently of up to 20 hours a day.Yet a stable Palestinian “mini-state” in Gaza could undermine long-standing Palestinian ambitions to set up an entity that is also meant to include the West Bank and east Jerusalem. Israel, which captured those territories in the 1967 Mideast war, withdrew from Gaza in 2005, but keeps a tight grip on the territory. Israel and Egypt imposed a blockade after the Hamas coup, with Israel arguing that it was necessary to prevent terrorists from obtaining materials to fortify military positions, dig tunnels and build rockets to fire at the Jewish state.Abbas, who administers an autonomous Palestinian Authority that oversees less than half the West Bank territory, has tried to negotiate a broader statehood deal with Israel, but his internationally backed efforts ran aground almost a decade ago, in part because of continued Israeli settlement activity in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.Israel’s hard-line government has said it would not withdraw to the pre-1967 lines in the West Bank or give up Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem.If Gaza stabilizes, Israel could argue that Palestinians already have a state there and face less international pressure to negotiate a broader peace deal. The Trump administration promised to try to revive statehood negotiations, but expectations are low and there’s no sign the US found a way to break the long-standing diplomatic impasse.“The expected changes in Gaza are posing a big threat to the Palestinian national project,” said analyst Ali Jerbawi, a former minister in Abbas’ self-rule government.The emerging Dahlan-Hamas agreement was made possible, in part, by the election of Yahya Sinwar as the new Hamas chief in Gaza in March.Dahlan, 55, and Sinwar, 54, have known each other since boyhood. Both grew up in the same neighborhood of southern Gaza’s Khan Younis refugee camp, attended the same UN school and later the territory’s Islamic University, said Ahmed Yousef, a former Hamas official who also grew up in southern Gaza.Their paths diverged when they joined rival political factions, Hamas and Fatah, where both became known for their ruthlessness.Sinwar helped establish the Hamas military wing in the late 1980s, while Dahlan rose through the ranks of Fatah, becoming chief of a feared Gaza security service that used to shave heads of Hamas prisoners to humiliate them.Rumors of rapprochement began circulating in late spring. By early June, delegations led by Dahlan and Sinwar were negotiating in Egypt, and participants said the two men established an easy rapport. The recent shift of Hamas’ power from exile in Qatar to Gaza, a result of leadership elections, also helped the deal by speeding up decision-making.Hamas spokesman Salah Bardaweel said this week that the deal with Dahlan and Egypt is moving forward.Egypt has begun sending fuel to Gaza’s only power-plant, helping ease a debilitating electricity shortage.Hamas, meanwhile, has been clearing brush to create a security buffer zone on the Gaza side of the border, and pledged not to give refuge to anti-Egypt insurgents from the Sinai.Egypt is refurbishing the now largely closed Rafah crossing with Gaza, and is to reopen it by the fall for passengers and goods, Bardaweel said. The extent of future Rafah operations remains unclear.Dahlan, who has strong ties with the United Arab Emirates, pledged to funnel tens of millions of dollars in Gulf aid to Gaza, Bardaweel said.The money will be used to compensate the families of some 400 people killed in Fatah-Hamas clashes that preceded the 2007 Hamas takeover, he said. In June, a UAE-funded committee also began distributing aid to 30,000 needy families from a $2 million fund.It remains unclear to what extent Dahlan would be involved in governing Gaza. Hamas will remain in charge of the security forces, while Dahlan is to serve as Gaza’s advocate abroad.Dahlan has no plans for now to settle in Gaza. However, his top lieutenants are to return to Gaza as early as next week and join those who remained in rebuilding his political organization.Last month, they opened a new headquarters in Gaza City. During a visit Wednesday, the office was still sparsely furnished, lacking phones and computers.Hamas and Dahlan’s supporters will also try to revive the Palestinian parliament, defunct since 2007, in hopes of boosting their political legitimacy.The 82-year-old Abbas has been watching the developments with alarm, seeking reassurances last week from Egypt in a hastily arranged trip to Cairo. If the deal goes forward, it would further undercut Abbas’ claim that he represents all Palestinians.Despite the apparent progress, both sides are cautious, taking small steps.“We and Hamas are political rivals, but at the same time, we have common ground,” said Sufian Abu Zaydeh, a pro-Dahlan lawmaker.“There are obstacles on the ground, but we have to kick-start the reconciliation and cooperation to face the tough problems in Gaza,” he said. “We are making real progress.”Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.
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