Thursday, May 30, 2024

Hamas negotiators in place in Egypt – hope for a ceasefire agreement

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A Palestinian and American flag at George Washington University in Washington. Photo: Susan Walsh / AP / NTB

Of NTB | 04.05.2024 13:04:02

War and conflicts: Israeli negotiators have helped draw up the proposals that are now on the table, but any agreement must also be approved by the Israeli government.

In recent days, mediators from Qatar, Egypt and the United States have been waiting for a response from Hamas, which has expressed both skepticism and optimism, but at the same time emphasized that the negotiations are continuing.

– All delegations have now arrived in Egypt, and at 1 pm (12 Norwegian time) the first round of negotiations will begin with Qatari, Egyptian and also American delegations present, says a senior Hamas representative, who will not be named, to the AFP news agency.

According to Arab media, such as Palestinian al-Quds and Saudi Asharq, Hamas will deliver a positive answer, perhaps already during Saturday.

In a few days the war will have lasted seven months, and the Israeli attacks against the Gaza Strip continue. On Saturday, it was reported that a further 32 people have been killed in the past 24 hours, which means that at least 34,654 Palestinians have so far been killed in the war, according to Palestinian health authorities. The vast majority of the victims are civilians.

He is said to have demanded that Qatar throw them out if they do not agree to the proposals now on the table.

The movement’s political leader Ismail Haniyeh has previously confirmed that a delegation was going to travel to Cairo shortly to finalize the negotiations.

On Friday, CIA director William Burns arrived in the Egyptian capital, according to the Reuters news agency’s sources.

Egypt, together with Qatar and the United States, has been at the forefront of the mediation between Israel and Hamas. The latest proposal will involve a 40-day ceasefire and the release of hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners in several stages.

At the same time, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has continued to threaten an Israeli ground invasion in Rafah, in the very south of the Gaza Strip, where more than 1 million internally displaced Palestinians are located.

According to analysts, the message may primarily be aimed at own ministers in what is Israel’s most right-wing government ever. Several of them are strongly against an agreement with Hamas.

Both the UN and the US have warned strongly against an Israeli ground invasion in Rafah and stressed that it will lead to enormous civilian suffering for the Palestinian civilian population.

Another source tells Egyptian Al Qahera News that there has been significant progress in the negotiations.

According to unconfirmed reports, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has in recent days tried to push for a breakthrough by putting pressure on Hamas’ exile leadership, who lives in Qatar.

Hamas, for its part, demands a permanent ceasefire and guarantees that Israel will not resume attacks.

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