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Israel and Hamas inflexible, discussions on a truce in danger

Photo: Agence France-Presse While efforts for a truce are increasing, Benjamin Netanyahu continues to proclaim his intention to lead a ground offensive on Rafah.

France Media Agency in the Gaza Strip

Posted at 9:08 a.m.

  • Middle East

Israel and the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas displayed their deep disagreement on Sunday with a view to a truce in the war in Gaza, jeopardizing discussions in Cairo with international mediators.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated that Israel “will not capitulate” and “cannot accept” Hamas' demands to stop the war in Gaza, sparked by a bloody attack of Hamas on October 7 against Israeli territory.

At the same time, he announced his government's “unanimous” decision to close Al-Jazeera in Israel, a channel from Qatar, one of the mediating countries in the conflict. His government ordered the seizure of satellite television equipment.

In response, Qatar-based Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh accused Mr. Netanyahu of “ sabotage the efforts of mediators” for a truce in the Palestinian territory besieged by Israel and devastated by seven months of Israeli bombardment.

In retaliation for the unprecedented attack by Hamas on October 7, the Israeli army launched a major offensive – air then land – in the Palestinian territory, resulting in the deaths so far of 34,683 people, mostly civilians according to the Hamas, and causing a humanitarian catastrophe and colossal destruction.

Israeli military operations show no respite, leaving 29 dead in the last 24 hours, according to the Ministry of Health of Hamas, which took power in Gaza in 2007.

The director of the World Food Program (WFP), Cindy McCain, was alarmed to see the north of the Gaza Strip hit by a “real famine”, which is progressing towards the south.

“Terrible defeat”

The offer from the mediators – Qatar, Egypt, United States – presented to Hamas at the end of April provides for a temporary truce associated with the release of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for that of hostages kidnapped during the attack on October 7.

A few hours before the resumption of negotiations in Cairo on Sunday between a Hamas delegation and Qatari and Egyptian representatives after a first round the day before, a Hamas official affirmed that his movement would “under no circumstances accept an agreement that does not explicitly provide a stop to the war.”

“Netanyahu personally puts the brakes on a truce deal,” he said, after Hamas accused the Israeli prime minister to hinder it with its public threats about an assault in Rafah, a town in southern Gaza.

“When Israel shows its good will, Hamas persists in its extreme positions, led by his demand for the withdrawal of our forces from the Gaza Strip, the end of the war and the preservation of Hamas. Israel cannot accept this,” Mr. Netanyahu said in the cabinet meeting.

“Capitulating” to Hamas’s demands would be a “terrible defeat” for Israel, he said.

Israel is not present in Cairo. And an Israeli official said that a delegation would go there in the event of progress.

The head of the CIA, William Burns, is there, American media reported.

“History will not forgive you”

Israel, which considers Hamas a terrorist organization along with the United States and the European Union, has vowed to annihilate the Islamist movement.

The October 7, Hamas commandos infiltrated from Gaza in southern Israel launched an attack which resulted in the deaths of more than 1,170 people, mainly civilians, according to an AFP report based on official Israeli data .

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

In a statement on Sunday, the Hostage Families Forum called on Mr Netanyahu “to ignore political pressure” and accept a deal that would allow the hostages to be released. “Mr Netanyahu, history will not forgive you if you miss this opportunity. »

Closing of an aid passage

While the efforts view of a truce are increasing, Benjamin Netanyahu continues to proclaim his intention to lead a ground offensive on Rafah which, according to him, constitutes the last great bastion of Hamas in Gaza.

The United States, Israel's main ally, is hostile 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,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned.

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

This aid, strictly controlled by Israel, remains very insufficient to meet the needs of the some 2.4 million Gazans.

On Sunday, the Israeli army announced that it had closed the Kerem Shalom crossing point, which had been targeted by rocket fire. Aid trucks are inspected there by Israel before entering the Gaza Strip.

Rockets on Israel

In the Gaza Strip, the Israeli army again bombarded the eponymous town (north), as well as the center and south of the territory, notably Khan Younes and Rafah.

The army claimed to have killed several Hamas fighters across the Gaza Strip.

On Israel's northern front, on the border with Lebanon , Lebanese Hezbollah announced that it had fired “dozens of rockets” towards Israeli territory after the death, according to the official Lebanese agency, of “four civilian members of the same family in an Israeli raid” in southern Lebanon.

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