The war between Israel and Hamas: Ceasefire talks are expected to resume

CAIRO (AP) — Talks aimed at securing a ceasefire in the region have faltered The war between Israel and Hamas Talks are expected to resume in earnest in Qatar on Sunday, according to Egyptian officials.

The talks will be the first time that Israeli officials and Hamas leaders have joined indirect negotiations since the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan. International mediators had hoped to reach a six-week truce before Ramadan began earlier this weekBut Hamas rejected any agreement that did not lead to a permanent ceasefire in Gaza, a request that Israel rejected.

But in recent days, both sides have taken steps aimed at getting the talks, which were not completely broken off, back on track.

Palestinians perform the first Friday prayer of the holy month of Ramadan near the ruins of a mosque destroyed by Israeli air strikes in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Friday, March 15, 2024. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair)

Hamas presented the mediators with a new proposal for a three-stage plan that would end the fighting, according to two Egyptian officials, one of whom was involved in the talks and the other of whom was briefed on it. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to reveal the contents of sensitive discussions.

The first phase will be a six-week ceasefire, which will see the release of 35 hostages – women, sick and elderly – held by militants in Gaza in exchange for 350 Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

Hamas will also release at least five female soldiers in exchange for 50 prisoners, including some serving long sentences on terrorism charges, for each soldier. Israeli forces will withdraw from two main roads in Gaza, allowing displaced Palestinians to return to northern Gaza. Destroyed by battlesOfficials said they would allow the free flow of aid to the region.

See also  Xi wins a third term as China's president amid a host of challenges

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) said on Friday that nearly one in three children under two years old in the isolated north suffers from acute malnutrition.

In the second phase, the two sides will declare a permanent ceasefire and Hamas will release the remaining Israeli soldiers held hostage in exchange for more prisoners, the officials said.

In this photo provided by the Israeli military, a ship carrying humanitarian aid from the World Central Kitchen (WCK), led by the United Arab Emirates, arrives in the maritime space of the Gaza Strip, Friday, March 15, 2024. (Israel Defense Forces via AP)

In this photo provided by the Israeli military, a ship carrying humanitarian aid from the World Central Kitchen (WCK), led by the United Arab Emirates, arrives in the maritime space of the Gaza Strip, Friday, March 15, 2024. (Israel Defense Forces via AP)

In the third phase, Hamas will hand over the bodies it is holding in exchange for Israel lifting the blockade on Gaza and allowing reconstruction to begin, the officials said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the proposal as “unrealistic.” However, he agreed to send Israeli negotiators to Qatar for further talks.

Egyptian officials said those talks are expected to resume Sunday afternoon, although they may be postponed until Monday.

Netanyahu's government has rejected calls for a permanent ceasefire, insisting that it must first achieve its stated goal of “eliminating Hamas.”

Netanyahu's office also said Friday that he had approved military plans to attack Rafah, the southernmost town in the Gaza Strip, which is home to about 1.4 million displaced Palestinians – more than half of the Strip's population.

Many Palestinians fled to Rafah when Israel attacked Gaza following the war October 7 Hamas attack In southern Israel, 1,200 people were killed and 250 others were taken hostage.

The United States and other countries have warned that the military The operation in Rafah could be disastrousBut Israel says it plans to move forward with the destruction of Hamas brigades stationed there.

Netanyahu's office did not provide details or a timetable for the Rafah operation, but said it would include the evacuation of the civilian population. The army said Planned to direct civilians to “humanitarian islands” Central Gaza.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Friday that the United States has not yet seen a “clear and implementable plan” to protect innocent people in Rafah from the Israeli incursion.

In this photo provided by the Israeli military, humanitarian aid transported from a ship belonging to the World Central Kitchen (WCK), led by the United Arab Emirates, arrives in the maritime space of the Gaza Strip, Friday, March 15, 2024. (Israel Defense Forces) via AP)

In this photo provided by the Israeli military, humanitarian aid transported from a ship belonging to the World Central Kitchen (WCK), led by the United Arab Emirates, arrives in the maritime space of the Gaza Strip, Friday, March 15, 2024. (Israel Defense Forces) via AP)

The Gaza Ministry of Health said on Saturday that at least 31,553 Palestinians had been killed in the war. Ministry No difference Between civilians and fighters in his count, but he says Women and children They make up two-thirds of the dead.

An Israeli raid early Saturday destroyed a house in the Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, killing at least 19 people, including nine children, according to Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital records. An Associated Press journalist saw the bodies there.

The Israeli attack led to the displacement of most of Gaza's 2.3 million residents from their homes. A quarter of Gaza's population is starvingAccording to the United Nations

As part of efforts to deliver much-needed aid to Gaza, a ship was opened Sea route from Cyprus Friday It unloaded 200 tons of humanitarian supplies Sent by global aid group Central Kitchen to residents of northern Gaza.

The group said on Saturday that it was preparing another ship in Cyprus carrying hundreds of tons of aid bound for Gaza.

Also on Saturday, Germany joined a group of countries, including the United States and Jordan, in conducting the operation Airdrop of aid Over Gaza. It also declared a separate United States Planning to build a pier To get aid.

Displaced Palestinians living in tents along the Mediterranean coast continued to suffer from hunger and misery. Zahr Saqr said in Al-Mawasi: “The situation is so bad that no one can imagine it, and the ship, even if it helps, will be a drop in the ocean.” “We run like dogs after drops of air.”

___

Associated Press writers Bassem Marwa in Beirut and Jack Jeffrey in Jerusalem contributed to this report.

___

This version corrects the name of the aid group to World Central Kitchen.

___

Find more AP coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *