The war between Israel and Gaza: ceasefire talks intensified in Cairo

  • Written by Anna Foster and Andre Roden-Paul
  • Jerusalem and London

Image source, Getty Images

Comment on the photo, There are warnings of famine in Gaza after months of Israeli bombing

Efforts have intensified to reach a ceasefire agreement in Gaza and the release of the hostages, with talks resuming in Cairo on Saturday.

Hamas said that its delegation is traveling “in a positive spirit” after studying the latest truce proposal.

She added, “We are determined to reach an agreement in a way that meets the demands of the Palestinians.”

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said that “agreeing to a ceasefire should be a matter of course” for the militant group.

Hamas negotiators returned to the Egyptian capital to resume long-running talks, brokered by Egypt and Qatar, that would temporarily halt the Israeli attack on Gaza in exchange for the release of the hostages.

In a statement issued last night, Hamas said it wanted to “mature” the agreement on the table, indicating that there are areas where the two sides still disagree.

The main issue appears to be whether the ceasefire agreement will be permanent or temporary.

Hamas insists that any agreement includes a specific commitment to ending the war, but Israel is reluctant to agree while the movement remains active in Gaza. The language being discussed is believed to include a cessation of fighting for 40 days until the hostages are released, and the release of a number of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prisons.

But the United States – Israel’s largest diplomatic and military ally – is reluctant to support a new offensive that could cause major civilian casualties, and has insisted on seeing a plan to protect displaced Palestinians first. An estimated 1.4 million people have taken refuge in Rafah after fleeing the fighting in the northern and central areas of the Strip.

Speaking about the prospects for a truce on Saturday, Minister Benny Gantz, a member of the Israeli Defense Cabinet, said: “An official response to the broad lines has not yet been received. When they are accepted, the war administration government will meet and discuss them. Until then, I suggest to the ‘political sources’ and those in charge of The entire decision is to wait for official updates, act calmly, and not enter into a state of hysteria for political reasons.

CIA Director Williams Burns has traveled to Cairo to help mediate the latest talks, according to two US officials who spoke to CBS News, the BBC’s partner in the US.

Blinken was also a key figure in the negotiations, and visited Israel again this week to meet with Netanyahu. Speaking on Friday in Arizona, Blinken said that “the only thing standing between the people of Gaza and a ceasefire is Hamas.”

Comment on the photo, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Israel to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this week

Even in this latest round of discussions, caution is needed. A source familiar with the talks told the BBC that the negotiations are still complex, and any breakthrough may take several days.

A source told The Washington Post that the United States urged Qatar to expel the political leadership of Hamas if the group continues to reject a ceasefire.

On Saturday, hundreds of people gathered in Democracy Square in Tel Aviv to demand the release of the hostages.

Relatives of the hostages also gathered at the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv to urge the government to reach an agreement. Some accused Netanyahu of trying to undermine the proposed truce, and others called for an end to the war.

Ayala Metzger, the wife of hostage Yoram’s 80-year-old son, said the government must agree to end the war if that is the price for releasing the hostages.

The war began after Hamas and other armed Palestinian groups attacked villages and military bases in southern Israel, killing at least 1,200 people and taking more than 250 hostage.

During the subsequent Israeli military campaign in Gaza, 34,654 Palestinians were killed and 77,908 injured, according to figures from the Hamas-run Health Ministry.

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