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Negotiators expected in Cairo to talk about a truce in Gaza

Photo: Mohammed Abed Agence France-Presse In Rafah there are nearly 1.5 million Palestinians, the majority displaced, who fear an Israeli ground offensive wanted by Benjamin Netanyahu for whom this city is the “last great bastion of Hamas”.

Belal al Sabbagh – Agence France-Presse and Benoît Finck – Agence France-Presse respectively in the Gaza Strip and Jerusalem

April 6, 2024

  • Middle East

American, Qatari, Israeli and Hamas negotiators are expected in Cairo on Sunday for yet another attempt to reach a truce associated with the release of hostages in the Gaza Strip ravaged by a devastating war which will enter its 7th month.

Triggered on October 7 by an unprecedented bloody attack by Hamas in Israel, the Israeli military offensive knows no respite, killing 33,137 people, most of them civilians, according to the movement's Ministry of Health Palestinian Islamist movement and causing a humanitarian disaster with the majority of the 2.4 million population at risk of starvation, according to the UN.

According to American media, CIA chief Bill Burns is traveling to Cairo this weekend to meet with Israeli Mossad chief David Barnea, as well as Egyptian and Qatari officials. The White House has confirmed talks.

Israeli and Hamas delegations will visit the Egyptian capital on Sunday, alongside Burns and the Qatari foreign minister, pro-government Egyptian media outlet Al-Qahera News reported on Saturday.

US President Joe Biden called on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “to reach a deal on the hostages” taken during the Hamas attack. He also asked Qatar and Egypt, the mediators with the United States, “to get Hamas to commit to an agreement,” according to a senior American official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

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Hamas, which announced the departure of a delegation to Cairo on Sunday, affirmed on Saturday that it would not give up its demands for a truce, including “a complete ceasefire,” an Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, a return of the displaced, and a “serious” agreement to exchange Palestinian hostages and prisoners held by Israel.

Body of a hostage recovered

After a one-week truce at the end of November which allowed the release of around a hundred hostages in exchange for Palestinian detainees, several rounds of indirect negotiations between the protagonists, via international mediators, took place for a new ceasefire. -fire. In vain.

Israel and Hamas, which took power in Gaza in 2007, blame each other for the blockade.

The Israeli government says it is determined to continue the war until “the elimination of Hamas”, considered a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union and Israel in particular.< /p>

On October 7, Hamas commandos infiltrated from Gaza carried out an attack in southern Israel that resulted in the deaths of 1,170 people in Israel, the majority civilians killed the same day, according to an AFP count based on official Israeli figures.

More than 250 people were kidnapped during the attack and taken to Gaza where 129 remain detained, including 34 who died, according to Israeli officials.

On Saturday, the army announced that it had recovered the body of Elad Katzir, kidnapped from Kibbutz Nir Oz, in Khan Younes. He was, according to her, “killed in captivity” by the terrorist organization Islamic Jihad, a Palestinian armed movement that participated in the October 7 attack.

For his sister, Carmit Palty Katzir, releasing him alive “could have been possible if a hostage deal had been reached in time. Our leaders are cowards and driven by political considerations.”

“Six months in hell”

The prime minister faces increased pressure in Israel. On Saturday evening, a large anti-Netanyahu mobilization took place in Tel Aviv and other Israeli localities to demand his resignation, early legislative elections and an agreement on the hostages, who had been “six months in hell”, could -we read on a sign.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog said Saturday that the army was fighting to bring back all the hostages. He added that a six-month commemoration of the Hamas attack would take place on Sunday at 6:29 a.m. local time.

In addition, Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid leaves for Washington on Saturday where he will meet senior American leaders, amid tensions over Mr. Netanyahu's conduct of the war .

“Everything has been destroyed”

In retaliation for the Hamas attack, the Israeli army launched a campaign of intense aerial bombardments on the Gaza Strip, followed by a ground offensive which allowed it to advance into the devastated territory that it has been besieging since the 9 October.

According to a latest report from the Hamas Ministry of Health, 46 additional deaths have been recorded in the last 24 hours in Gaza.

In Rafah, there are nearly 1.5 million Palestinians, the majority displaced, who fear, in addition to the bombings, a ground offensive wanted by Mr. Netanyahu for whom this city is the ” last great bastion of Hamas”. An offensive opposed by its American ally.

“Everything has been destroyed,” laments Siham Achour, 50, who found refuge in a tent in Rafah after fleeing Khan Younès.

“Great impunity”

As the war enters its 7th month on Sunday, the head of the UN humanitarian affairs office, Martin Griffiths, denounced the fact that, despite “global outrage”, “so little was done to put an end to it, leaving room for such great impunity.”

The Netanyahu government is under strong international pressure to let more aid into Gaza, especially after the death on Monday of humanitarian workers from World Center Kitchen (WCK) — a Palestinian and six foreigners — killed in Palestinian territory by an Israeli drone against their vehicle.

Strictly controlled by Israel, aid, mainly coming from Egypt, enters slowly via the Kerem Shalom crossing between Israeli territory and southern Gaza.

On Friday, Israel announced plans to “temporarily” open other crossing points to deliver aid, as well as an “increase in aid through Kerem Shalom.”

Measures deemed “insufficient” by the UN.

The war has repercussions on the border between Lebanon and Israel, where the Israeli army exchanges fire daily with Lebanese Hezbollah. On Saturday evening, a missile struck an Israeli drone in Lebanese airspace, which fell to the ground, according to the army.

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