Israeli delegation to cease-fire talks in Cairo

Israel has sent a delegation to Cairo to further negotiate a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and the release of Hamas hostages. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement yesterday that the negotiating team had arrived in the Egyptian capital. There are instructions to “firmly insist on the necessary conditions” to achieve the release of the hostages.

According to Netanyahu, Hamas agreed to a new negotiating proposal and sought to thwart the Israeli offensive in Rafah. “It didn’t happen,” Netanyahu said in a video message that evening.

Waiting for a breakthrough

The secret talks between Israel and Hamas are about a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and the release of hostages smuggled into the Palestinian territories. Hamas representatives held talks with Egyptian and Qatari mediators in the Egyptian capital Cairo last weekend. Israel was not initially represented in Cairo and the expected progress did not materialize.

A Hamas delegation left on Sunday, announcing on Monday that Hamas had agreed to a plan by Egypt and Qatar to broker a ceasefire. Yesterday, according to a Hamas representative, he wanted to go back to Doha, the capital of Qatar, to “conclude” negotiations in Cairo.

Despite strong international criticism, the Israeli government is sticking to its plans for a ground offensive in Rafah. He called on residents in the east of the city, south of the Gaza Strip, to evacuate on Monday, and has already moved to the east of the city. This prompted international warnings of a major offensive in Rafah, which could have serious consequences for civilians.

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