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For Washington, Israel has accepted a truce in Gaza and the ball is “in Hamas’ court”

Photo: Mohammed Hajjar Associated Press The United States carried out airdrops of aid to Gaza for the first time on Saturday, delivering more than 38,000 meals.

France Media Agency in Washington

March 3, 2024

  • Middle East

Israel has “more or less” agreed to a truce deal in Gaza, now putting the ball “in Hamas’ court,” a U.S. official said Saturday, as the United States began airdrops of humanitarian aid on Palestinian territory.

“There’s a deal on the table. The Israelis more or less accepted it. And a six-week ceasefire could begin today in Gaza if Hamas agrees to release a defined category of vulnerable hostages,” the US official said.

He said that, for now, “discussions continue” to seal an agreement before the start of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting, in a week.

“There has been significant progress in recent weeks, but as always, there is no agreement until everything is decided,” added in an exchange with the press of this senior official, who requested anonymity.

“The Israelis accepted in principle the elements of the agreement,” he insisted.

He clarified that the six-week truce was intended as a “first phase”, with the objective of achieving “something more lasting”, in particular to be able to massively increase the humanitarian aid.

The United States conducted airdrops of aid to Gaza for the first time on Saturday, delivering more than 38,000 meals, the U.S. military said.

Nearly five months of war in the Gaza Strip, bombed and besieged by the Israeli army, have caused a serious humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian territory, threatened with famine according to the UN.< /p>

The American airdrops come two days after an aid distribution turned into a tragedy.

The health ministry of Hamas, which rules Gaza, accuses the Israeli army of killing 115 people by shooting at a hungry crowd rushing to aid trucks. The Israeli army admitted to “limited shooting” and claimed that most of the victims died in a “stampede”.

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38,000 meals

Three U.S. military aircraft dropped packages containing more than 38,000 meals Saturday afternoon local time in Gaza, in cooperation with Jordan, the U.S. Middle East Command (Centcom) said.

The latter added that he was working on planning “potential subsequent aid delivery missions”.

US President Joe Biden said on Friday that Washington would imminently join “Jordan and other countries in airdropping food and other goods” into Gaza.

The spokesperson for the National Security Council, John Kirby, then clarified that it would not be a single operation.

“Further drops will be planned and executed” by the Pentagon, he said, emphasizing their “extremely difficult” nature due to the population density in Gaza.

Joe Biden also mentioned on Friday “the possibility of a maritime corridor to transport large quantities of aid”.

But these two options — air drops and sea deliveries — “cannot replace the necessary entry of aid through as many land routes as possible,” a senior US official warned Saturday .

Until now, the United States, Israel's primary supporter, had not carried out such airdrops, judging their effectiveness to be limited.

But Washington has been complaining to Israel for weeks about the insufficient humanitarian aid provided to civilians in the Gaza Strip.

In the midst of the electoral campaign in the United States, President Joe Biden, candidate for a second term, is also under pressure from the left wing of his party and the Muslim community and of Arab origin for his support for Israel.

On Saturday, hundreds of protesters gathered in Washington, shouting slogans like “Free Palestine! » in front of the Israeli embassy before parading with a giant Palestinian flag to the residence of the Israeli ambassador.

Some held signs in tribute to the American soldier who died last weekend after setting himself on fire in front of the Israeli embassy in the United States, shouting “Free Palestine! “.

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