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“Common ground” for Gaza truce found in Paris

Photo: Mohammed Abed Agence France-Presse Concern is growing in Rafah, on the closed border with Egypt, where at least 1.4 million people are massed in precarious conditions, most of them displaced, who are threatened with a large-scale land military operation. .

France Media Agency

February 25, 2024

  • Middle East

“Common ground” was found during recent negotiations in Paris aimed at securing a truce in Gaza, Jake Sullivan, adviser to US President Joe Biden, said on Sunday.

“It is true that the representatives of Israel, the United States, Egypt and Qatar met in Paris and reached common ground between the four of them regarding the outlines” of a possible agreement on the release of the hostages and “a temporary ceasefire,” the White House national security adviser said on CNN.

“I’m not going to go into the details of that, because they’re still being negotiated,” he said, but “there would have to be Qatar and Egypt's indirect discussions with Hamas, because in the end, they will have to agree to the release of the hostages. This work is in progress.”

“We hope that in the coming days we can get to a point where there is actually a solid and final agreement on this issue,” Jake Sullivan said on American television.

Egyptian, Qatari, American, Israeli technocrats and Hamas executives resumed negotiations on Sunday in Doha for a truce in Gaza, announced a television close to Egyptian intelligence, and these discussions “will be followed by meetings in Cairo,” according to AlQahera News.

All these talks “follow up on what was discussed in Paris,” the channel adds, citing “senior officials” on condition of anonymity.

An Israeli delegation led by the head of Mossad was in Paris on Friday to follow up on the truce project discussed at the end of January in France with these same interlocutors.

“Mass Starvation”

Hundreds of people, driven by hunger, fled the northern Gaza Strip on Sunday, as discussions on a truce between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas took place in Qatar, after negotiations in France and Egypt.

The humanitarian situation continues to worsen in the Palestinian territory where 2.2 million people, the vast majority of the population, are threatened with “mass starvation”, according to the UN.

The aid, which enters in dribs and drabs through the Rafah crossing, in the far south of Gaza, is subject to the green light from Israel and its transport to the north is almost impossible due to destruction and fighting.

The clashes continued into the night in Khan Younès (south), but also in Beit Lahia and Zeitoun (north), and it is the lack of food which also pushes the population to leave, a AFP correspondent reporting on Sunday hundreds of people leaving the north, where 300,000 people risk famine according to the UN, towards the center of the Gaza Strip.

Among them, Samir Abd Rabbo, 27, arrived in Nousseirat (center) on Sunday morning with his one and a half year old daughter.

“God, our only hope”

“I came on foot […] I cannot describe the kind of famine that is spreading there […] There is no milk [for my daughter]. I try to give her bread that I prepare from fodder, but she does not digest it […] Our only hope is God's help,” he told AFP.

“Killing our people by starving them is a crime of genocide which threatens the entire negotiation process,” a Hamas official in the north of the Strip told AFP on condition of anonymity. from Gaza.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, criticized on Friday the “siege imposed on Gaza” by Israel which could “represent the use of famine as a method of war” which is, he recalled, a “war crime”.

In Jabaliya (north), dozens of residents were rushing and shouting at each other on Saturday to get food. “It’s over,” shouts a man responsible for distributing what appears to be soup, according to AFP images.

“Let the world see where we’ve come,” says a man.

The war was sparked on October 7 by an unprecedented attack in Israel by Hamas commandos infiltrated from the Gaza Strip, which resulted in the deaths of at least 1,160 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP count based on official Israeli data.

During the attack, some 250 people were also kidnapped and taken to Gaza. According to Israel, 130 hostages — 30 of whom are believed to have died — are still being held there after the release of around a hundred during a truce at the end of November, in exchange for Palestinian prisoners.

In retaliation, Israel vowed to annihilate Hamas, which took power in Gaza in 2007 and which it considers, like the United States and the European Union, to be a terrorist organization.

The Israeli military offensive has left 29,692 dead in Gaza since October 7, the vast majority of them civilians, according to the latest report from the Palestinian Islamist movement's Ministry of Health.

The ministry reports daily around a hundred deaths in the Gaza Strip, in what is the largest offensive in Israel's history.

“As quickly as possible”

Mr. Netanyahu said on Saturday that he would convene “at the beginning of the week the cabinet to approve the operational plans of action in Rafah, including the evacuation of the civilian population.”

According to an AFP journalist, at least six air raids were carried out on the city on Saturday evening.

The Israeli army announced on Sunday that it was continuing operations in Khan Younes (south), claiming that a special unit “had eliminated dozens of terrorists and located weapons”.

In Israel, thousands of people gathered once again on Saturday evening in Tel Aviv on “Hostages Square” to demand their release.

“We think about them all the time, we want them to come back to us alive and as quickly as possible,” Orna Tal, 60, whose friend is among the 130, told AFP hostages.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116