Progress is reported in Gaza ceasefire talks, but Israel downplays chances of ending war with Hamas – WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — A Hamas delegation was in Cairo on Saturday as Egyptian state media reported “noticeable progress” in Gaza ceasefire talks. But Israel has not sent a delegation and a senior Israeli official downplayed the prospects for a complete end to the war while emphasizing the commitment to invade Rafah.

Pressure has increased for an agreement to end the nearly seven-month war. A top UN official says there is now “complete famine” in northern Gaza, while the United States has repeatedly warned its close ally Israel about its planned offensive in Rafah, the southernmost city on the border with Egypt. where more than 1 million people live. Palestinians take shelter.

Egyptian and American mediators have reported signals of compromise in recent days, but the chances of a ceasefire remain intertwined with the crucial question of whether Israel will accept an end to the war without the stated goal of destroying the militant group reach Hamas.

Egypt’s state television channel Al-Qahera News said a consensus had been reached on many disputed points, but did not elaborate. Hamas has called for a complete end to the war and the withdrawal of all Israeli forces from Gaza.

A senior Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing negotiations, downplayed the prospects for a complete end to the war. The official said Israel is committed to the invasion of Rafah and will under no circumstances agree to end the war as part of a deal to release hostages.

Israeli media said the statement was dictated by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose government could be threatened if he agrees to a deal as hard-line cabinet members demand an attack on Rafah.

The proposal made to Hamas by Egyptian mediators outlines a three-phase process that would lead to an immediate six-week ceasefire and a partial release of Israeli hostages, and would include some form of Israeli withdrawal. The first phase would last 40 days. Hamas would begin releasing female civilian hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

Some families of hostages accused Netanyahu of prolonging the war because of his political interests. Daniel Elgert, whose brother Itzhak is being held by Hamas, addressed Netanyahu at the latest rally in Tel Aviv: “Bibi, we call on you from here to announce the end of the war in exchange for the return of all hostages. The war is basically over, we know it’s over, you can’t fool us.”

According to local Gaza health officials, the war has killed more than 34,000 Palestinians, caused widespread destruction and plunged the territory into an unprecedented humanitarian crisis.

The conflict broke out on October 7, when Hamas attacked southern Israel, kidnapping about 250 people and killing about 1,200 people, mostly civilians. Israel says militants are still holding about 100 hostages and the remains of more than 30 others.

At least six people were killed in Israeli attacks on Gaza on Saturday. Three bodies were recovered from the rubble of a building in Rafah and taken to Yousef Al Najjar Hospital. An attack in the Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza killed three people, according to hospital officials.

In the past 24 hours, the bodies of 32 people killed by Israeli strikes have been taken to local hospitals, Gaza’s Health Ministry said on Saturday. The ministry does not distinguish between fighters and civilians in its figures, but says women and children make up about two-thirds of the deaths.

The Israeli army says it has killed 13,000 militants, without providing evidence to support the claim.

It has also carried out mass arrests during its raids on Gaza. The territory’s health ministry has urged the International Criminal Court to investigate the death of a Gaza surgeon in Israeli custody. According to the Palestinian Prisoners Club, Adnan al-Borsh, 50, was working at al-Awda hospital when Israeli forces stormed it in December.

The United Nations has warned that hundreds of thousands of people are “at immediate risk of death” if Israeli forces advance on the densely packed Rafah, which is also a crucial entry point for humanitarian aid. Israel has informed US officials of its plan to evacuate civilians.

The director of the UN World Food Program, Cindy McCain, said on Friday that trapped civilians in the north, the most cut-off part of Gaza, have been plunged into famine. McCain said a ceasefire and a greatly increased flow of aid through land and sea routes were essential.

An Israeli humanitarian official on Saturday called McCain’s claim false and said Israel has facilitated the delivery of more aid. The official spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the situation.

Israel recently opened new crossings for aid in northern Gaza, but on Wednesday Israeli settlers blocked the first convoy before it entered the besieged enclave. Once in Gaza, the convoy was commandeered by Hamas militants before UN officials recovered it.

Some displaced residents of northern Gaza said they had skipped meals and had not seen vegetables for weeks.

“You now know that everything is scarce in Gaza. There are no vegetables and no aid or food parcels. We receive food parcels about once a month,” said Marwan Al-Zaid.

In the Israeli-occupied West Bank, where tensions have been high since the war in Gaza broke out, the Israeli army said this and Shin Bet had killed five fighters in Tulkarem, claiming the fighters had opened fire. Palestinian authorities said five people were killed by Israeli fire in the town of Deir al-Ghusun, about 7 kilometers northeast of Tulkarem.

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