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As Gaza awaits the arrival of the first relief ships on Sunday, the name of Palestinian leader Muhammad Dahlan has emerged strongly in the issue of maritime aid to the Strip, according to reports in Israeli media. This comes at a sensitive time when the concerned parties, such as the United States, the Palestinian Authority, and Arab countries, are trying to agree on a Palestinian government that can manage the Gaza Strip after the war. These are attempts that Israel has so far ignored, stressing that it will remain there, perhaps for years.

The official Israeli Broadcasting Authority (KAN) reported that the architect of the idea of ​​the maritime aid line initiated by the United Arab Emirates to the Gaza Strip is the Fatah leader Muhammad Dahlan. It quoted unnamed informed sources as saying that he coordinated with Hamas the process of transporting goods from Cyprus, and that he met with the movement’s leadership 3 weeks ago.

Dahlan, who is considered the staunchest political opponent of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, resides in the Emirati capital.

According to Kan, Israel has actually allowed the UAE to immediately begin transporting humanitarian aid by sea to the Gaza Strip via the Cyprus route, at a time when the United States is preparing to establish a naval pier off the coast of the Gaza Strip.

The capacity to transport aid by sea is 10 times the capacity of air support.

The UAE has stationed several ships in Cyprus, awaiting the arrival of food supplies and humanitarian equipment, which will be delivered directly to one of the Gaza beaches in the northern part of the Gaza Strip before Ramadan.

An American charitable foundation announced on Saturday that it was loading aid for Gaza on a ship in Cyprus, making it the first shipment sent to the Strip.

The “Open Arms” ship, carrying 200 tons of food aid to the Gaza Strip, docked in the port of Larnaca today, Saturday (AFP)

The ship “Open Arms”, flying the Spanish flag, docked three weeks ago in the port of Larnaca, south of Cyprus, the closest member state of the European Union to the Gaza Strip.

The non-governmental organization said in a statement, “World Central Kitchen teams are in Cyprus to load humanitarian aid onto a boat heading to the northern Gaza Strip.”

She added: “We have been preparing for weeks, with our partner, the non-governmental organization Open Arms, to open the maritime aid corridor that will allow us to intensify our efforts in the region.”

“Our ship is preparing to depart carrying tons of food, water, and vital supplies for Palestinian civilians,” Open Arms wrote on the “X” platform.

The non-governmental organization intends to tow a ship loaded with supplies for the residents of Gaza, where humanitarian conditions are catastrophic, just over 5 months after the start of the war between Israel and the Hamas movement, which is classified as a terrorist organization in the United States.

The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said during a visit to Cyprus on Friday that opening a humanitarian corridor to the Gaza Strip may take place on Sunday.

The European Commission President’s announcement came jointly with Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Cyprus, the UAE, the United Kingdom and the United States.

This came after US President Joe Biden announced the construction of a “temporary dock” in Gaza to bring in “massive aid.”

Biden said on Friday that Israel would provide security for the temporary port that he announced would be built off the coast of Gaza City, at a time when his administration seeks to increase the amount of aid reaching the Strip, amid the war between Israel and Hamas.

The American plan to establish an aid port in the Gaza Strip (Asharq Al-Awsat)

The Pentagon expected that the project to plan and implement the temporary port would “most likely take up to 60 days,” adding that the United States ultimately aims to provide two million meals to Gazans daily.

Pentagon spokesman Major General Patrick Ryder said that the operation may include a thousand American soldiers, but the forces will not be deployed on the beach – even temporarily, to stabilize the pier on the beach.

The general direction of the sea corridor attempts to solve the problem of the refusal of the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to open more land crossings for aid to enter Gaza, but Israeli sources said that the goal is to overcome traffic congestion and thieves faced by aid trucks entering through Rafah.

Since Gaza’s beaches are shallow, ships sent by the UAE will unload the boxes into smaller vessels, and from there they will be transported by truck.

The sea aid route is being established in full coordination with Israel, and the containers on Cypriot territory will be searched by the Cypriot security services, under the close supervision of Israeli security officials who will arrive specifically on the island. Israeli naval ships will secure the Emirati ships off the coast of Gaza and while bringing aid and equipment to shore.

In Israel, some tribes in the Gaza Strip have been contacted, and they will be informed of the date of the arrival of the aid that will reach the shores of Gaza, so that they can attend and distribute it.

Israel wants the tribes to assume civil rule in Gaza, while it controls security, but the United States, the Authority, and Arab countries are working to find a Palestinian government to take over the task.

While Abbas plans to form a government of experts led by the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Palestine Investment Fund, Muhammad Mustafa, who is an economic advisor to Abbas, in addition to being a member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization and responsible for its economic department, names have emerged that Arab and Palestinian parties are seeking to hand over the expected government of experts, including Salam. Fayyad, the former prime minister, who is also an economic expert and enjoys the confidence of the United States and European countries, and Nasser al-Qudwa, a member of the Central Committee of the Fatah movement who was dismissed by Abbas. He is close to Marwan Barghouti, a senior leader in Fatah who is imprisoned in Israeli prisons. His name is also proposed as a successor to Abbas himself, among other names.

Dahlan, who is considered Abbas’s fiercest opponent, is not far from consultations. Dahlan said earlier that “neither Abbas nor Hamas” will run the Gaza Strip.

The differences between Abbas and Dahlan began when the latter was a member of the Fatah Central Committee, and the differences became public at the end of 2010. In June 2011, the Fatah Central Committee decided to dismiss Dahlan from its membership hours after he left Ramallah. After security surrounded his house and arrested his companions.

Dahlan said after the outbreak of the recent war in Gaza that he did not aspire to any official Palestinian position.

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