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Negotiations resume for a truce in Gaza

Photo: Said Khatib Agence France-Presse A family was decimated on Sunday by a nighttime strike on a house in Rafah. Fourteen people lost their lives, including two twin babies a few months old.

Adel Zaanoun – Agence France-Presse and Mathieu Gorse – Agence France-Presse respectively in the Gaza Strip and Jerusalem

March 3, 2024

  • Middle East

Negotiations resumed on Sunday in Cairo with a view to obtaining a truce between Israel and Hamas during Ramadan in the Gaza Strip, where deadly Israeli bombings continue in the Palestinian territory threatened by famine according to the UN.

According to Egyptian pro-government media, representatives from Qatar and the United States have arrived in the Egyptian capital. There, Hamas envoys must “give them a response to the proposal developed in Paris” at the end of January, indicated a source close to the Islamist movement.

The proposal from the mediating countries — Qatar, United States, Egypt — concerns a six-week pause in the fighting and the release of 42 hostages held in Gaza in exchange for that of Palestinians imprisoned by Israel.

The aim is to reach a truce before the start of the Muslim fasting month, which will begin on March 10 or 11 this year.

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“The Israelis have accepted in principle the elements of the agreement,” assured a senior American official in Washington on Saturday, but Israel has not confirmed this information.

A truce could be signed within “24-48 hours” if Israel “accepts Hamas’ demands,” a senior Palestinian movement official told AFP on Sunday, speaking on condition of anonymity.

They include “the return of displaced Palestinians to northern Gaza and an increase in humanitarian aid” of the order of “400 to 500 trucks per day,” he added, compared to around 80 currently.

Decimated family

In exchange for a release of hostages, the Palestinian movement is also demanding a definitive ceasefire and an Israeli military withdrawal from Gaza, where several nighttime airstrikes have targeted the towns of Khan Younes and Rafah, in the south, according to an AFP correspondent.

The Hamas government also reported that heavy artillery fire targeted Jabaliya, Beit Hanoun, Zeitoun and Tal al-Hawa in the north.

In nearly five months, Israeli military operations launched in retaliation for the unprecedented Hamas attack in Israel on October 7 left 30,410 people dead in the Gaza Strip, mostly civilians. indicated Sunday the Ministry of Health.

He reported 90 deaths in 24 hours, including 14 members of the Abou Anza family, including months-old twin babies Naïm and Wissam, in a strike on their house in Rafah.

“Honestly, there was no military presence in the house, only civilians,” Shehda Abou Anza, a nephew, told AFP. “There were maybe more than 15 children in this completely destroyed four-story house.” “All babies and toddlers.”

The conflict has also caused a humanitarian catastrophe and famine is “almost inevitable” for 2.2 million people, the vast majority of Gaza's population, according to Jens Laerke, spokesperson word of OCHA, the United Nations agency for the coordination of humanitarian affairs.

According to the Ministry of Health, 16 children have died of “malnutrition and dehydration” in recent days.

Large-scale aid

The UN Security Council on Saturday expressed “grave concern” over food insecurity in Gaza and called for the unhindered delivery of “large-scale” humanitarian aid.

Faced with the difficulties of transporting humanitarian aid by road in the territory sealed off by Israel, the United States carried out a first airdrop of aid on Saturday in a joint operation with Jordan.

In Rome, Pope Francis called for guaranteeing “safe access” to humanitarian aid for the population in “urgent need”.

The war was sparked by an October 7 attack in southern Israel by Hamas commandos infiltrated from Gaza, where the movement seized power in 2007.

This attack resulted in the deaths of at least 1,160 people, the majority civilians, according to an AFP count based on official Israeli data.

Around 250 people were also kidnapped and, according to Israel, 130 hostages are still being held in the Gaza Strip, 31 of whom are believed to have died. A truce at the end of November allowed the release of 105 hostages in exchange for 240 Palestinian detainees.

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

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the upcoming launch of a major operation on Rafah, to defeat the Islamist movement in its “last bastion”.

This prospect worries the international community because the city is home to nearly 1.5 million Palestinians, the vast majority displaced, trapped against the closed border with Egypt.

Preliminary investigation

Cargoes by land, subject to the green light from Israel which has imposed a blockade on Gaza since 2007, only arrive in very limited quantities via Rafah, from Egypt, according to the UN.

Their transport, particularly in the north of the territory, is perilous due to fighting, Israeli bombings, rubble blocking roads and sometimes looting.

An aid distribution in Gaza City turned tragic on Thursday when several hundred people rushed onto humanitarian aid trucks.

Hamas claims the Israeli army opened fire on the hungry crowd. Israel on Sunday spoke of shootings against “several thieves” who posed “an immediate threat” to soldiers tasked with securing the area.

The preliminary investigation “confirmed that no strikes were carried out by [the army] towards the aid convoy,” said Israeli army spokesperson Daniel Hagari. “The majority of Palestinians were killed or injured as a result of the stampede” to seize the trucks’ cargo, he said.

The tragedy left 118 dead and 760 injured, according to Hamas, and the international community has called for an investigation.

A UN team said it found “a large number” of gunshot wounds at a hospital in the city where many victims had been admitted.

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