May 28, 2024

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The war between Israel and Hamas: Hamas accepts the Egyptian-Qatari ceasefire proposal

The war between Israel and Hamas: Hamas accepts the Egyptian-Qatari ceasefire proposal

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli leaders have approved a military operation in the Gaza Strip city of Rafah, and Israeli forces are now striking targets in the area, officials said Monday.

This step came hours after Hamas announced its acceptance of the Egyptian-Qatari ceasefire proposal.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said the proposal was “far from Israel’s basic demands,” but that it would nonetheless send negotiators to continue talks on a ceasefire agreement.

This is a breaking news update. The previous AP story follows below.

Hamas announced on Monday that it had accepted the Egyptian-Qatari ceasefire proposal, but Israel said it was studying the offer, leaving it unsure whether an agreement had been reached for the seven-month-old ceasefire. The war in Gaza.

It was the first glimmer of hope that reaching an agreement would avoid further bloodshed. Hours earlier, Israel ordered about 100,000 Palestinians to begin evacuating the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, indicating that the attack was imminent. The United States and other key allies of Israel oppose the attack on Rafah, where about 1.4 million Palestinians live, more than half of Gaza’s population.

Palestinians in Rafah burst into cheers after Hamas’ announcement, hoping it would mean avoiding invasion – but that remained unclear.

IDF spokesman Admiral Daniel Hagari said of Hamas’ response: “We examine every answer and respond seriously.” But he added that Israeli military operations would continue in the meantime. An official familiar with Israeli thinking said that the plan approved by Hamas is not the framework proposed by Israel.

President Joe Biden spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and reiterated US concerns about the Rafah invasion, telling him that a ceasefire was the best way to protect the lives of Israeli hostages, according to a National Security Council spokesman, who spoke on condition of anonymity. To discuss the call before issuing an official White House statement.

US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said that US officials are reviewing Hamas’ response “and are discussing it with our partners in the region.” An American official said that the United States is studying whether Hamas agreed to a version of the deal signed by Israel and international negotiators or something else.

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Details of the proposal were not revealed. During a tour of the region last week, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken pressured Hamas to accept the deal, which Egyptian officials said called for a ceasefire. From multiple stages Starting with the limited release of hostages and the partial withdrawal of Israeli forces inside Gaza. They added that the two sides will also negotiate a “permanent calm” that will lead to the full release of the hostages and a greater Israeli withdrawal from the Strip.

Hamas was seeking clearer guarantees for its main demand of an end to the war and complete Israeli withdrawal in exchange for the release of all hostages, according to Egyptian officials. It was not immediately known if any changes had been made.

Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders have repeatedly rejected this quid pro quo and have vowed to continue their campaign until Hamas is destroyed after its October 7 attack on Israel that led to the outbreak of war.

Israel says Rafah is the last important crossing Hamas stronghold Netanyahu said on Monday that the attack on the town was vital to ensure that the militants were unable to rebuild their military capabilities.

But he faces strong American opposition. After the Israeli evacuation order was issued, Miller said that the United States did not see a credible and implementable plan to protect Palestinian civilians. He said: “We cannot support an operation in Rafah as it is currently envisioned.”

The looming operation may Raised the global alarm. Aid agencies warned that the attack would lead to a higher civilian death toll in an Israeli campaign that has already killed 34,000 people and devastated the region. They say it could also destroy the Rafah-based humanitarian aid operation that keeps Palestinians throughout the Gaza Strip alive.

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UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk on Monday described the evacuation order as “inhumane.”

“Gazans are still exposed to bombs, disease and even starvation. Today, they are being told they must move again.” “It will only expose them to more danger and misery.

Israeli military leaflets were dropped ordering the evacuation of the eastern neighborhoods of Rafah, warning that an attack was imminent and that anyone who remained would be “exposing themselves and their family members to danger.” Text messages and radio broadcasts repeated the message.

The army asked people to move to a humanitarian zone declared by Israel called My condolencesA temporary camp on the coast. She said that Israel has expanded the size of the area and that it includes tents, food, water, and field hospitals.

But it was not immediately clear whether that actually existed.

About 450,000 displaced Palestinians are already taking refuge in Mawasi. The United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, known as UNRWA, said it was providing them with aid. But conditions are dire, with few bathrooms or sanitation facilities in the largely rural area, forcing families to dig private latrines.

The evacuation order left Palestinians in Rafah grappling with having to uproot their families again for an unknown fate, exhausted after months of living in sprawling camps or crammed into schools or other shelters in and around the city.

Muhammad Jundia said that at the beginning of the war, he tried to hold out in his home in northern Gaza under heavy bombardment before fleeing to Rafah.

He is complying with the Israeli evacuation order this time, but is now unsure whether to move to Al-Mawasi or to another town in central Gaza.

“We are 12 families, and we don’t know where to go. There is no safe area in Gaza.”

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Sahar Abu Nahl, who was displaced to Rafah with 20 members of her family, including her children and grandchildren, wiped the tears from her cheeks, desperate for any new step.

“I don’t have money or anything. I’m so tired, and so are the kids,” she said. “Maybe it would be more honorable for us to die. “We are being humiliated.”

Jan Egeland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council, condemned the “forced and illegal” eviction order and the idea that people should go to Moasi.

“The area is really sprawling and devoid of vital services,” Egeland said. He said that any Israeli attack could lead to “the bloodiest phase of this war.”

Israeli bombing and ground attacks in Gaza led to the deaths of more than 34,700 Palestinians. Two-thirds of them are children and womenAccording to health officials in Gaza. This outcome does not differentiate between civilians and combatants. More than 80% of the population of 2.3 million people have been displaced from their homes, and hundreds of thousands in the north are on the brink of famine, according to the United Nations.

Tensions escalated on Sunday when Hamas fired rockets at Israeli forces stationed on the border with Gaza, near Israel’s main crossing into Israel. Delivery of humanitarian aidResulting in the killing of four soldiers. Israel closed the crossing.

Meanwhile, Israeli air strikes on Rafah killed 22 people, including children and two infants.

The war broke out because An unprecedented raid on October 7 on southern Israel Hamas and other militants killed about 1,200 people, most of them civilians, and kidnapped about 250 hostages. After an exchange of fire during a ceasefire in November, Hamas is believed to still be holding about 100 Israelis as well as the bodies of about 30 others.

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Marwa reported from Beirut. Sami Magdy in Cairo and Zeke Miller in Washington contributed.