Hamas and Israel leave Cairo talks

Hamas and Israel leave Cairo talks
Hamas and Israel leave Cairo talks
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May 10, 2024 – 07:15

(Keystone-ATS) Israel increases strikes in the Gaza Strip on Friday after the departure, without agreement, of the two camps from the negotiating table aimed at achieving a truce and preventing an Israeli offensive on Rafah.

In the early hours of Friday, AFP teams reported Israeli artillery fire towards Rafah, on the Egyptian border, and witnesses of airstrikes on Gaza City and the Jabalia sector in the north of the territory. .

Meanwhile, Hamas sent a message to other Palestinian factions to explain its views on the status of indirect negotiations with Israel that have been taking place since Wednesday in Cairo.

“The delegation left Cairo for Doha. The occupation rejected the proposal submitted by the mediators which we had accepted. As a result, the ball is now entirely in the court of the occupation,” the name given to Israel by the Islamist movement, he indicated in this letter.

Efforts “continue”

The representatives of Hamas and Israel left Cairo after “two days of negotiations”, reported the media Al-Qahera News, close to Egyptian intelligence, specifying that the efforts of the mediating countries (Egypt, Qatar, United States) “continue to bring together the points of view of the two parties”.

CIA Director William Burns, who was heavily involved in the talks and present in Cairo and Jerusalem this week, returns to the United States on Friday, the White House said.

Hamas gave the green light Monday to a proposal presented by mediators which includes, according to the movement, a truce in three phases, each lasting 42 days, including an Israeli withdrawal from Gaza as well as an exchange of Israeli hostages and Palestinian prisoners with a view to a “permanent ceasefire”.

But Israel responded that this proposal was “far from its demands” and repeated its opposition to a definitive ceasefire as long as Hamas, in power in Gaza since 2007 and which it considers a terrorist organization as well as the United States and the European Union, will not be “defeated”.

“Targeted” incursions

To this end, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu considers necessary a ground offensive in Rafah, a city where according to him the last battalions of the Islamist movement are hiding but where there are also 1.4 million Palestinians, the majority displaced by the violence.

Defying international warnings, the Israeli army has since Tuesday carried out incursions described as “targeted” in eastern Rafah and taken control of the border crossing with Egypt, blocking a key entry point for convoys. humanitarian aid to the besieged territory.

US President Joe Biden has threatened to stop deliveries of certain types of bombs in the event of an offensive on Rafah, the most severe warning from Washington, the main arms supplier to Israel, since the start of the conflict.

“Stand Alone”

The war broke out on October 7 when Hamas commandos infiltrated from Gaza carried out an attack against Israel, unprecedented in the country’s history, which left more than 1,170 dead, mostly civilians, according to an AFP report. established from official Israeli data.

More than 250 people have been kidnapped and 128 remain captive in Gaza, of whom 36 are believed to have died, according to the army. In response, Israel promised to destroy Hamas, in power in Gaza since 2007, and launched an offensive which has so far left 34,904 dead, according to the Hamas Ministry of Health.

“If we have to stand alone, we will stand alone. I have already said it, if necessary, we will fight with our nails,” Benjamin Netanyahu responded to President Biden on Thursday. The spokesperson for the Israeli army, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, affirmed for his part that it had enough weapons to “accomplish its mission in Rafah”.

Attempted fire

During the night, American Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Choukri to reiterate American opposition to “a major military operation in Rafah” and its “rejection” of “any forced displacement of Palestinians from Gaza”.

According to the UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA), whose offices in Jerusalem were the target according to it of an attempted fire by “Israeli extremists”, around 80,000 people have fled Rafah since that Israel called, at the beginning of the week, the population of the east of the city to leave the area.

Some headed to Khan Yunis, a ruined city a few kilometers to the north, while others were still wondering where to go. “Tanks, artillery and the sound of bombing are incessant. People are afraid and want to look for a safe place,” displaced person Abdel Rahman told AFP.

“Tanks everywhere”

Despite the reopening on Wednesday of the Kerem Shalom crossing, closed for three days due to rocket fire according to Israel, the delivery of aid remains “extremely difficult”, Andrea De Domenico, the head of the office, told AFP of the United Nations humanitarian agency (Ocha) in the Palestinian territories.

“It’s crazy,” the Israelis “have tanks everywhere, troops on the ground, they are bombing the area east of Rafah and they want us to go get fuel or basic products” in these areas of war when “they know we just can’t go,” he added.

“The situation is dire,” added Unicef ​​executive director Catherine Russell, saying that if fuel was not allowed in, “incubators for premature babies will no longer be fueled, children and families will be dehydrated or drink unsafe water and the sewers will overflow spreading disease”.

The situation in Gaza is on the agenda for Friday at a special session of the General Assembly at the UN.

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