Report: KSA, France mull plan to send Hamas leaders to Algeria
A confidential document, developed by a think tank in Riyadh, outlines a plan to end the crisis in Gaza, French newspaper Le Monde has reported.
In addition to the transfer of Hamas’ military leaders to Algeria, the plan suggests deploying an Arab peacekeeping force in the Palestinian enclave, the French daily said.
Le Monde said the confidential document which it has obtained is devised by Abdelaziz al-Saqer, the director of the Gulf Research Center, a Saudi think tank.
“The text was developed following a meeting on November 19 in Riyadh between Mr. al-Saqer and Anne Grillo, the director of the North Africa and the Middle East Department at the Quai d'Orsay (French Foreign Ministry),” Le Monde added.
The document suggests ways to stop hostilities in Gaza and stabilize the enclave. Its most significant mentioned step is the evacuation to Algiers of "the military and security leaders of Hamas," a phrase likely referring to Mohammed Deif, the commander of the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ armed wing, and possibly also Yahya Sinwar, the leader of Hamas in Gaza, who is very close to the military wing.
Algeria is cited as a possible destination of exile for these men because of its good relations with Qatar and Iran, "the main supporters of the Hamas movement," and its "security capacity," which would allow it to “control the activities of these leaders.”
The idea is reminiscent of the evacuation by boat, in 1982, of Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian fighters from Beirut, then besieged by the Israeli army. The leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization and his fighters reached Athens, under escort of the French navy, before settling in Tunis.
Other points in al-Saqer's draft plan include the deployment of Arab peacekeeping forces to Gaza, under a United Nations mandate, and the creation of a "joint transition council," bringing together the main parties in Gaza -- Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Fatah. They would be “responsible for managing the enclave for four years and organizing presidential and parliamentary elections,” the document says.