RAMALLAH, November 15 (JMCC) - According to Israeli activist Gershon Baskin, Hamas military wing leader Ahmed Jabari, who was killed Wednesday in a targeted Israeli airstrike, had been involved in talks to reach a long-term ceasefire agreement between Israel and the Hamas leadership, reports Haaretz
Only hours before his assassination, Baskin told the newspaper, Jabari had received the draft of an agreement that Baskin had been instrumental in promoting between Egyptian, Hamas and Israeli leaders.
Baskin told Haaretz on Thursday that senior officials in Israel knew about his contacts with Hamas and Egyptian intelligence aimed at formulating the permanent truce, but nevertheless approved the assassination.
“I think that they have made a strategic mistake, Baskin said, an error which will cost the lives of quite a number of innocent people on both sides.
This blood could have been spared. Those who made the decision must be judged by the voters, but to my regret they will get more votes because of this,” he added.
Baskin made Jabari’s acquaintance when he served as a mediator between David Meidin, Israel’s representative to the Shalit negotiations, and Jabari. “Jabari was the all-powerful man in charge. He always received the messages via a third party, Razi Hamad of Hamas, who called him Mister J.”
For months, Baskin sent daily messages in advance of the formulation of the deal. He kept the channel of communication with Gaza open even after the Shalit deal was completed.
According to Baskin, during the past two years Jabari internalized the realization that the rounds of hostilities with Israel were beneficial neither to Hamas nor to the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip and only caused suffering, and several times he acted to prevent firing by Hamas into Israel.
He said that even when Hamas was pulled into participating in the launching of rockets, its rockets would always land in open spaces. “And that was intentional,” clarified Baskin.
In recent months Baskin was continuously in touch with Hamas officials and with Egyptian intelligence as well as with officials in Israel, whose names he refuse sot divulge. A few months ago Baskin showed Defense Minister Ehud Barak a draft of the agreement and on the basis of that draft an inter-ministry committee on the issue was established. The agreement was to have constituted a basis for a permanent truce between Israel and Hamas, which would prevent the repeated rounds of shooting.
“In Israel,” Baskin said, “they decided not to decide, and in recent months I took the initiative to push it again.” In recent weeks he renewed he contacts with Hamas and with Egypt and just this week he was in Egypt and met with top people in the intelligence system and with a Hams representative.