Saturday, June 15, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

Hamas says studying new Israeli truce proposal

  • Hamas reviewing Israel’s ceasefire offer amidst Egyptian mediation
  • Humanitarian crisis worsens in Gaza, with UN warning of famine and violence
Update : 27 Apr 2024, 08:09 PM

Hamas said it was studying on Saturday the latest Israeli counterproposal regarding a potential ceasefire in Gaza, a day after media reports said a delegation from mediator Egypt arrived in Israel in a bid to jump-start stalled negotiations.

The signs of fresh truce talks came alongside at least three Israeli air strikes during the night in Rafah, southernmost Gaza, according to an AFP correspondent.

Rafah is crowded with hundreds of thousands of Palestinians displaced by nearly seven months of war between Israel and Hamas. Strikes in Rafah and elsewhere killed more than a dozen people overnight, hospital officials said.

“Today, the Hamas movement received the official Zionist occupation response to the movement’s position, which was delivered to the Egyptian and Qatari mediators on April 13,” Khalil al-Hayya, deputy head of Hamas’s political arm in Gaza, said in a statement.

“The movement will study this proposal, and upon completion of its study, it will submit its response.”

Hamas has previously insisted on a permanent ceasefire, something rejected by Israel.

Egypt, Qatar and the United States have been unsuccessfully trying to seal a new truce deal in Gaza ever since a one-week halt to the fighting in November saw 80 Israeli hostages exchanged for 240 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons.

A delegation from Egypt arrived in Israel on Friday hoping to revive the truce negotiations, Israeli and Egyptian media reported.

There has been “noticeable progress in bringing the views of the Egyptian and Israeli delegations closer”, said Al-Qahera News, which is linked to Egyptian state intelligence services.

In early April Hamas had said it was studying a proposal, after talks in Cairo, and Al-Qahera reported progress. Days later Israel and Hamas accused each other of undermining negotiations.

Deaths every day

As talks drag on, dozens of people in Gaza die every day, according to figures from the health ministry in the Hamas-run territory.

Vowing to destroy Hamas, Israel’s retaliatory offensive has killed at least 34,356 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the health ministry.

The war is on the agenda for an international summit in Saudi Arabia.

The World Economic Forum special meeting, scheduled to begin in Riyadh on Sunday, will include a Gaza-focused session on Monday set to feature newly appointed Palestinian prime minister Mohammed Mustafa, Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly and Sigrid Kaag, the United Nations aid coordinator for the Gaza Strip.

Israel’s military on Saturday said its aircraft had hit more than 25targets over the previous day.

Israeli demonstrators have intensified protests for their government to reach a deal that would free the captives, accusing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of prolonging the war.

‘We are tired’

Amid the destruction, a surgeon had hailed baby Sabreen al-Ruh’s survival as a miracle. She was the only member of her family left alive after her birth by caesarian section from her dying mother. Witnesses said an Israeli strike hit their home.

But the baby’s uncle, Rami al-Sheikh, told AFP on Friday that her condition had worsened and hospital staff could not save her.

Israel’s military offensive has turned vast swathes of Gaza into rubble, creating 37 million tonnes of debris that will take years to clear away, according to the UN Mine Action Service.

It said unexploded ordnance would complicate that work.

On Friday the European Union said it was giving an extra $73 million for food, water and other aid to Palestinians in Gaza “in light of the continued deterioration of the severe humanitarian crisis.”

The World Food Programme has warned famine is “a real and dangerous threat.”

In the southern Gaza city of Khan Yunis, where intense fighting raged in February, some residents said they preferred to return and live among the ruins.

“We are tired after seven months of displacement and struggle in the camps. So we insisted on returning and staying in a tent over the rubble of our home,” said Abdelqader Mohammed Qwaider.

Minister in car crash

The main aid agency in Gaza, the UN agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA) has been under attack and lost some of its global funding since January when Israel said several UNRWA employees were involved in the October 7 resistance camapaign.

The United Nations immediately fired the accused staffers and began an investigation.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric on Friday said one case has been closed “as no evidence was provided by Israel to support the allegations against the staff member”.

Investigations into three other staffers were suspended as information provided by Israel is “not sufficient”, Dujarric said.

The Gaza war has led to increased violence between Israel and Iran’s proxies and allies, in particular the Iran-backed group Hezbollah along the border with Lebanon.

On Friday another pro-Hamas Lebanese group, Jamaa Islamiya, said an Israeli strike in eastern Lebanon had killed two of its senior commanders.

Off Yemen, a ship was damaged when targeted twice with multiple missiles Friday, in the latest attack on international shipping in the Red Sea to be claimed by Huthi rebels.

Near Tel Aviv, an 18-year-old woman was seriously wounded in a stabbing attack and the assailant was killed at the scene, said paramedics and police.

After addressing journalists there, Israel’s far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir was among four people who received “light” injuries in a car crash, police said.

A dark-coloured sedan ended up on its roof in a pedestrian crossing, near a white car whose engine compartment was heavily damaged.

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