JAFFA, Israel – The Palestinian Authority will oppose an EU-brokered proposal to create a maritime route between Gaza and Cyprus, a PA official has said.
Azzam Elahmad, head of the Fatah negotiating team with Hamas, said that the PA ruled out a proposal recently made by Turkey as part as its reconciliation drive with Israel.
Ankara suggested that the ongoing closure of Gaza could be alleviated by a safe passage to Northern Cyprus.
Israel is also inclined to reject the initiative so as not to risk its relationship with the Egyptians, who wish to maintain pressure on Hamas-ruled Gaza, Israeli media reported. Israel also fears Hamas would use the end of the naval blockade of Gaza to smuggle mass quantities of weaponry by sea.
The Palestinian Authority does not wish to upset Cairo, said Elahmad, but another reason for rejecting the route is that the PA does not recognize Turkish-ruled Northern Cyprus.
“We recognize only one Cyprus, integral and indivisible,” he said. “We do not recognize Turkish Cyprus. We will not condone the division of the island, and we will never forget Cyprus’ steadfast support of the Palestinians in our most exacting periods.”
The initiative, he said, “is driven by malicious attempts to undermine our relationship with Cyprus. We will not let it happen, the same way we won’t allow the construction of a seaport or power station in Gaza. All these ideas hurt the Palestinian cause.”
Elahmed later told Breitbart Jerusalem that he believes Turkey is trying to perpetuate Hamas rule in Gaza and prevent the unification of the Palestinians under a single government.