Gaza truce talks continue in Cairo, but Israel still set on Rafah ground attack


Photo: The war in Gaza escalates as Gaza truce talks continue in Cairo

Egyptian TV reports mediators and Hamas have reached an agreement on several issues regarding a potential ceasefire in Gaza.

Earlier, Al-Qahera News TV channel, a station in Cairo, quoted an unnamed senior official as saying that a Hamas delegation had arrived in the city discuss the terms for a ceasefire with Israel.

That delegation is currently studying the latest truce proposal and is – according to media reports – ‘determined to secure an agreement in a way that fulfills Palestinians’ demands.’

Hamas has been demanding a complete end to the war and withdrawal of all Israeli forces from Gaza.

Egypt has reportedly cautioned Hamas of the potential acceleration of tensions in Gaza should they fail to reach an agreement. The main stumbling block appears to involve whether the truce deal would be lasting or temporary.

The proposal that Egyptian mediators had put to Hamas sets out a three-stage process that would bring an immediate, six-week cease-fire and partial release of Israeli hostages, and would include some sort of Israeli pullout. The initial stage would last for 40 days. Hamas would start by releasing female civilian hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

Gershon Baskin, director for the Middle East at the International Communities Organization, said it appears that Hamas has agreed to the framework that Egypt proposed and Israel has already accepted. He said if Israel sends its top negotiators to Cairo after the Sabbath ends on Saturday evening, that would signify it’s very serious.

Despite the ongoing negotiations Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is still adamant that there will be a fresh military ground operation in the city of Rafah, even if a deal is settled. Yesterday former PM Ehud Olmert urged the Israelis in an Op-Ed in the Jerusalem post to flood the streets on Monday and demand the release of the hostages. In his opinion , the release of the hostages has never been a key objective of PM Netanyahu and he believes that Netanyahu’s primary objective is to stay in power . He also believes Israel will not come out victorious in this war . “The talk of total victory” over Hamas was an empty slogan”, the wrote.

The war has killed more than 34,700 Palestinians, mostly women and children , according to Gaza’s local health officials, caused widespread destruction and plunged the territory into an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. According to the most recent reports Israel is heavily bombing Rafah , in the middle of the night, where more than 1.7 million Palestinians are trapped.

The conflict erupted on Oct. 7, when Hamas attacked southern Israel, abducting about 250 people and killing around 1,139people . Israel says militants still hold around 100 hostages and the remains of more than 30 others.

The Vatican News/ Politico/Ya Libnan