Home / News / Mediator says Gaza ceasefire talks ‘not progressing as expected’

Mediator says Gaza ceasefire talks ‘not progressing as expected’


RAFAH, Gaza Strip — Israel’s prime minister accused Hamas of not changing, while key mediator Qatar said Saturday that talks on a possible ceasefire agreement in Gaza “have not progressed as expected” in the past few days after good progress in recent weeks. his “delusional” demands.

Speaking during the Munich Security Conference, Qatari prime minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani noted difficulties in the “humanitarian part” of the negotiations.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was under pressure to bring back the hostages from the October 7 Hamas attack, said that he sent a delegation to the ceasefire talks in Cairo at the beginning of the week at the request of US President Joe Biden, but did not go. See the point of sending them again.

Hamas wants a permanent ceasefire in Gaza and the release of Palestinians held by Israel.

Netanyahu also dismissed international concerns about Israel’s planned ground offensive on southern Gaza’s Rafah city on the Egyptian border. He said “total victory” against Hamas required an offensive after the people living there had been evacuated to safe areas. It is unclear where they will go in largely devastated Gaza.

New airstrikes in central Gaza on Saturday killed more than 40 people, including children, and injured at least 50, according to Associated Press journalists and hospital officials. The Israeli army said it launched an attack against Hamas.

According to health officials, five people were killed in an Israeli airstrike targeting a house outside Khan Younis in the south, while five more people, including three children, were killed in an airstrike on a building in the north of Rafah. Director of Abu Yousef al-Najjar Hospital, Dr. Marwan al-Hams said other bodies were recovered from the rubble.

Israel’s air and ground offensive was triggered by an attack in Israel on October 7, which killed approximately 1,200 people and took 250 people hostage.

In its statement on Saturday, the Gaza Ministry of Health stated that the bodies of 83 people who died in Israeli bombardments were brought to hospitals in the last 24 hours, increasing the total death toll in Gaza to 28 thousand 858. The count does not distinguish between combatants and civilians, but the ministry says two-thirds of those killed were women and children.

The war also caused widespread destruction, displacing nearly 80% of Gaza’s population and sparking a humanitarian crisis in the Hamas-ruled region.

More than half of Gaza’s 2.3 million population is concentrated in Rafah, which Israel portrays as the last important stronghold of Hamas fighters.

Biden called on Israel not to operate there without a “credible” plan to protect civilians and instead focus on a ceasefire. Egypt said the operation could threaten diplomatic relations.

Israel has said it has no plans to force Palestinians into Egypt. However, new satellite photos show that Egypt is preparing for this scenario. The footage shows Egypt building a wall and leveling the land near the Gaza border.

Speaking at the Munich Security Conference, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said, “Our intention is not to provide any safe areas or facilities, but if this happens, we will provide support to innocent civilians.”

President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi confirmed in a meeting with the French leader that Egypt categorically rejects “any form of migration of Palestinians to Egypt,” according to El-Sisi’s office.

Two senior Egyptian officials said Egypt was building additional defense lines in the existing buffer zone that stretches about 3 miles from the border. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss details with the media.

Built as part of Egypt’s fight against the Islamic State organization, the purpose of the buffer zone was to prevent arms smuggling to and from Gaza.

A senior US envoy said Israel had provided no specific evidence that Hamas was diverting UN aid and that its targeted killings of Gaza police commanders guarding truck convoys made it “almost impossible” for the goods to be distributed safely. Israel.

David Satterfield, the Biden administration’s special Middle East envoy for humanitarian issues, said criminal gangs are increasingly targeting convoys after police escorts left in the wake of Israeli attacks.

“We’re working with the Israeli government and the Israeli military to see what solutions can be found here because everyone wants to see the aid continue,” Satterfield told the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on Friday. The solution “will require some sort of security guard to get back.”

Satterfield said Israeli officials had provided “no specific evidence that U.N. aid was being diverted or stolen,” but that fighters had an interest in using “other channels of aid to determine where aid should go and to whom.”

Israel has repeatedly claimed that Hamas diverted aid, including fuel, after entering Gaza, but this claim was rejected by UN aid agencies. Last week, three senior police commanders were killed in an Israeli air strike on a vehicle in Rafah. In another attack, two police officers were killed.

Satterfield also touched on the challenges faced by the main UN agency assisting Palestinians in Gaza; In a statement published on Saturday, its director accused Israel of trying to “destroy” the organization and warned that its operations would cease in April without further support.

In recent weeks, the Israeli army has focused on Khan Younis, Gaza’s second largest city and a Hamas stronghold.

The army said on Saturday it had arrested 100 suspected Hamas fighters at the city’s Nasser Hospital. Israel’s defense minister said that at least 20 of those detained were involved in the October 7 attack.

The Ministry of Health said that soldiers turned the hospital into a “military barracks” and detained many medical personnel. Israel says it did not target patients or doctors, but staff say the facility struggled under heavy fire.

Nour Abou Jameh was among the thousands of people who had to leave Nasser Hospital last week. “Fire and shelling were coming from all directions,” Jameh said. “When we set out at night, there were bodies in the streets, even tanks came and crushed them.”

Mroue reported from Beirut.


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