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Israel and Hamas inflexible before resuming truce talks

Israel and the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas have once again displayed their deep disagreement with a view to a truce in the war at home. Gaza, casting a chill on the discussions which are due to resume on Sunday in Cairo.

In the seventh month of the war sparked by a bloody Hamas attack on October 7 against Israel, the director of the World Food Program (WFP), Cindy McCain, was alarmed to see the north of the Strip of Gaza hit by a “real famine”, which is progressing towards the south.

In retaliation for the unprecedented attack by Hamas, the Israeli army launched a major offensive – air then land – in the Palestinian territory which it besieged, resulting in the deaths of 34,654 people, mainly civilians according to Hamas, and causing a humanitarian catastrophe and colossal destruction. And the Israeli bombings have not stopped.

After a first round of discussions on Saturday in Cairo in the presence of a Hamas delegation led by Khalil al-Hayya and representatives of the mediators -Qatar, Egypt, States- United, Israel and the Palestinian movement have once again displayed their deep differences with a view to a truce.

Saturday evening, a Hamas official repeated, under cover of anonymity, that his movement would not accept “under any circumstances an agreement that does not explicitly provide for an end to the war”.

“Our information confirms that (Benjamin) Netanyahu is personally slowing down an agreement through personal calculations,” he told AFP about the Israeli Prime Minister accused by Hamas of hindering any agreement with his public threats on a assault in Rafah, a town in the south of the Gaza Strip.

– “History will not forgive you” –

Israel and Hamas inflexible before resuming truce talks

A Palestinian carries personal belongings amid destruction in Beit Lahya, northern Gaza Strip, May 4, 2024 © AFP – –

Before him, an Israeli official accused Hamas of blocking any agreement by insisting on its demand for an end to the war, and predicted difficult negotiations.

There was “no development” in the first round on Saturday in Cairo and new discussions are planned for Sunday, said an official from Hamas, the movement which took power in Gaza in 2007.< /p>

Israel is not present in the Egyptian capital. Another Israeli official said signs of progress would be seen if Mossad chief David Barnea took an Israeli delegation to Cairo.

According to the American site Axios, the head of the CIA, William Burns, is in Cairo.

The mediators' offer presented to Hamas at the end of April provides for a truce associated with a release of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for that of hostages kidnapped during the October 7 attack.

On Friday, Hamas indicated that it was going to Cairo with an “open mind “, but insisted on its demands: “a total cessation of Israeli aggression” and “the withdrawal” of Israeli forces from Gaza.

Israel has always rejected these conditions from Hamas, which it considers a terrorist organization along with the United States and the European Union, and which it has sworn to annihilation after the attack on October 7.

That day, Hamas commandos infiltrated from Gaza in southern Israel launched an attack which resulted in the death of more than 1,170 people, mainly civilians, according to an AFP report based on official data.

During the attack, more than 250 people were kidnapped and 128 remain captive in Gaza, 35 of whom died, according to the army.

Israel and Hamas inflexible before resuming truce talks

Thousands of people, including relatives of hostages held in Gaza, brandish signs and Israeli flags during a demonstration in Tel Aviv calling for a truce agreement allowing their release, May 4, 2024 © AFP – JACK GUEZ

On Saturday evening, thousands of people, including relatives of hostages, demonstrated in Tel Aviv to demand that the Netanyahu government conclude a truce agreement allowing the return of the hostages.< /p>

In a statement, the Hostage Families Forum called on Mr. Netanyahu “to ignore political pressure” and accept an agreement that would allow the release of the hostages. “Mr. Netanyahu, history will not forgive you if you miss this opportunity.”

– “The famine is here” –

Israel and Hamas inflexible before resuming truce talks

A Palestinian boy carries a jerrycan of water on May 4, 2024 in Beit Lahia, in the north of the Gaza Strip, where a war pits the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas and Israel © AFP – –

While efforts for a truce are increasing, Benjamin Netanyahu continues to declare his intention to carry out a ground offensive on Rafah, a city which according to him constitutes the last major bastion of Hamas in the Palestinian territory.

The United States, Israel's main ally, has repeatedly expressed its opposition to an assault on this city where 1.2 million Palestinians are crowded together, most of them displaced by the war .

“The damage it would cause would be beyond what is acceptable,” warned Secretary of State Antony Blinken, as the student movement against the Israeli offensive continues around the world.

Rafah, located on Egypt's closed border, is the main land crossing point for humanitarian aid. An offensive would be a “hard blow” to humanitarian operations, the UN warned.

International aid, strictly controlled by Israel and arriving via Rafah, remains very insufficient to meet the needs of some 2.4 million Gazans.

“When you have conflicts like this, with so much emotion, where so much is happening, famine happens,” said WFP Director Cindy McCain, according to an excerpt of an interview broadcast Friday by NBC .

In Gaza, “the famine is there, a real famine in the north, and which is moving towards the south”, she said, demanding a ceasefire and “unimpeded access” to Gaza to deliver aid.

Israel and Hamas inflexible before resuming truce talks

A Palestinian walks in front of buildings destroyed by Israeli strikes on May 4, 2024 in Beit Lahya, in the north of the Gaza Strip where a war pits Israel against the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas © AFP – –

On Saturday evening, the Israeli army announced that an Islamic Jihad brigade leader in Rafah identified as Ayman Zaarab and presented as one of the commanders of the October 7 attack, as well as two other members of the group, had been killed in the south of the Palestinian territory.

All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

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