Palestinians perform Friday prayers at the remains of a mosque, which witnesses said was hit by an Israeli air strike during a seven-week Israeli offensive in Gaza City August 29, 2014. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa
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European nations are offering to help enforce the cease-fire in the Gaza Strip, a scenario that could provide key international backing for maintaining the peace and step up the pressure on Hamas militants to relinquish power.A European presence could go a long way toward meeting two key demands: the Palestinians' insistence on freer movement in and out of the territory, and the Israeli requirement that Hamas be kept in check.President Mahmoud Abbas, who heads the authority, is eager to regain a foothold in Gaza, seven years after Hamas violently overran the territory. With the international community shunning Hamas as a terrorist group, Abbas would be likely to operate Gaza's borders and oversee internationally funded reconstruction efforts.Europe's border-monitoring operation, EUBAM, halted its operations after Hamas overran Gaza in 2007 .Israel and Hamas militants battled for 50 days this summer before reaching a truce Tuesday. Hamas, meanwhile, rejected Israel's demand that it disarm.At the minimum, an international presence in Gaza would require Hamas to allow Abbas' forces to help operate the border crossings – something it is willing to do.
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