Media reports outlines of US framework for potential truce deal between Hamas and Israel - as it happened

Ahram Online , Saturday 24 Feb 2024

It was another deadly day for the Palestinians everywhere in the Gaza Strip - more killed and wounded in Israeli airstrikes and growing famine conditions in northern Gaza - as reports emerged a new US framework for a truce deal between Israel and Hamas might be a workable one for the two sides.

A protester holds a placard reading Ceasefire 2024 in support of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip in Paris on 23 February 2024. AFP


22:30 Egypt has started setting up the second camp for displaced Palestinians in Khan Younis with a capacity of 400 tents to accommodate 4,000 people in cooperation with the Palestine Red Crescent, a source told Al-Qahera News TV channel on Saturday.

The new camp will be equipped with electricity and water as part of Egypt's efforts to alleviate the ongoing suffering of the Palestinian people, explained the source.

Egypt will also set up a field hospital in the Palestinian city of Rafah in south Gaza and a relief camp in Deir Al-Balah in central Gaza.

Two aid distribution centres will be established in Rafah, which is now home to 1.5 million Palestinians displaced by five months of Israeli bombardment across the strip.

Egypt set up the first camp for displaced Palestinians in Khan Younis in December and expanded it in January.

21:30 On Saturday evening, Israeli police used water cannons to disperse tens of Israelis protesting against the government of Netanyahu in Tel Aviv to demand Israel sign a prisoner swap deal with Hamas.


Police use water cannons to disperse demonstrators during a protest against Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu's government - calling for the release of hostages held in the Gaza Strip. AP


20:45 Axios political reporter Barak Ravid posted on his X account a summary of the updated US framework for a prisoner swap and prolonged truce deal between Hamas and Israel per sources with knowledge.

Earlier today,  Israeli media reported that negotiators working on the Gaza ceasefire deal in Paris agreed to a new framework for a possible prisoner swap and prolonged truce between the two sides.

The talks in Paris are mediated by intelligence officials from Egypt, Qatar, the US, and Israel.

High-ranking Israeli Cabinet members were expected to meet Saturday evening with a delegation that returned from talks in Paris with negotiators to discuss truce proposals, an Israeli official said.



20:00 Tens of thousands of Palestinians under a total blockade by Israel on all food, medicine, and fuel in northern since 7 October have been facing famine conditions.

The UN and various humanitarian aid organizations have been calling on Israel to allow them to deliver some food to the residents in the north of the strip - but to no avail.

A father fleeing northern Gaza said he fed his starving daughter animal feed but she could not hold it down.



19:15 Palestinian Minister of Information Abu Rudeineh called today for a unified Arab and Islamic stance to press the US administration to compel Israel to halt its ongoing aggression and massacres against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including Jerusalem, according to WAFA.

During his speech as the State of Palestine representative at a conference held in Istanbul, Abu Rudeineh emphasized the importance of consolidating efforts with all international parties “to compel Israel to stop its ferocious war, allow humanitarian, medical, and food aid, and provide water, electricity, and fuel to the entire Gaza Strip, including the northern Gaza region, which is facing a humanitarian catastrophe and a real famine.”

He reiterated the rejection of the displacement of the Palestinian people, whether in the Gaza Strip or the West Bank, including Jerusalem, warning of the consequences of any military offensive by the occupation forces in Rafah, which could lead to a mass exodus of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from the city.

“Gaza will only be a part of the independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, and any plans to the contrary are destined to fail and will not succeed,” he emphasized.

Abu Rudeineh reiterated the rejection of the post-war plans proposed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, “which aim to deceive the world public opinion and continue the occupation of Palestinian territories, preventing the establishment of a Palestinian state, in defiance of international will.”

He stressed that “ending the Israeli aggression, Palestine obtaining full membership in the United Nations, and embodying the independence of the independent State of Palestine on the borders of 4 June 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital, are the real gateway to achieving security and stability for all.”

Palestinians crowd a market in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024. AP


18:45 UNRWA fired back against the Israeli campaign to close the main UN organization that provides a lifeline to millions of Palestinian refugees.


17:45 AFP photographers captured images from the lives of 1.5 million displaced Palestinians who are struggling to avert hunger and death in Rafah in the southernmost region of the Gaza Strip.


See the full gallery here


17:30 Overnight strikes on Gaza killed dozens, the Palestinian health ministry said Saturday, as Israel's spy chief joined talks in Paris seeking to unblock negotiations on a truce.

Israeli media reported on Saturday that negotiators working on the Gaza ceasefire deal in Paris agreed to a new framework for a possible prisoner swap between Israel and Hamas.

The negotiations come after a plan for a post-war Gaza unveiled by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu drew criticism from key ally the United States, and was rejected by Hamas and the Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank.

They also come alongside deepening fears for Gaza's civilians.

16:30 The United Nations' main aid body for Palestinians, UNWRA, said Gazans were "in extreme peril while the world watches."

Hamas said on Saturday morning that Israeli forces had launched more than 70 strikes on civilian homes in Deir al-Balah, Khan Younis and Rafah among other locations over the previous 24 hours. The health ministry said at least 92 people were killed.

Hamas also said fighting was raging in the northern district of Zeitoun.

AFPTV footage showed distraught Gazans queueing on Friday for food in Jabalia, also in the besieged Palestinian territory's devastated north, and protesting over dire living conditions.

"We have no water, no flour and we are very tired because of hunger. Our backs and eyes hurt because of fire and smoke," said one of them, Oum Wajdi Salha.

Gaza's health ministry said a two-month-old baby identified as Mahmud Fatuh had died of "malnutrition."

The UN humanitarian agency OCHA warned that "the elevated risk of famine in Gaza is projected to increase" without enough food and water, as well as health services.

15:12 At least seven people have been killed and several others wounded in an Israeli strike on a house in central Rafah, in the south Gaza Strip.

The house was on a busy road leading to a market.

15:10 Al Jazeera obtained images from an Israeli drone showing the army targeting civilians in the Tel Al-Zaatar area, storming the Al-Awda Hospital in north Gaza where they arrested medical staff and patients, and bombing entire residential blocks.

The footage, from December, shows Israeli soldiers detaining medical personnel and stripping them naked after forcing them out of their hospital.



14:48 Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticized the UN and Western countries for “just watching the humanitarian crimes” committed by Israel in Gaza, Anadolu news agency reports.

“Neither Western powers nor the UN Security Council have made a useful effort to prevent Israeli violence,” Erdogan was quoted as saying at a meeting of the Justice and Development (AK) Party in Turkey’s northwestern province of Sakarya.

He decried the UN Security Council’s inability to impose an immediate ceasefire after the US vetoed a draft resolution, prompting widespread criticism from rivals and allies alike.

14:13 The Biden administration asked Israel to stop targeting members of the Hamas-run civilian police force who escort aid trucks in Gaza, warning that a "total breakdown of law and order" is significantly exacerbating the humanitarian crisis in the enclave, three US and Israeli officials told Axios.

US officials say they are increasingly concerned "that Gaza is turning into Mogadishu" as a security vacuum and desperation have opened the door for armed gangs to attack and loot aid trucks, putting even more pressure on the strip's already strained humanitarian system.

There has been a significant decrease in the number of aid trucks entering Gaza in recent weeks, according to the UN humanitarian aid office (OCHA). On at least four days in the last two weeks, less than 10 aid trucks entered the strip.

That is in part due to the security situation on the border, UN humanitarian coordinator for the Palestinian Territory James McGoldrick told reporters this week.

Members of the Hamas-run civilian police force had been operating in Rafah and on the Gaza side of the nearby Karm Abu Salem crossing to ensure security for the aid trucks. But they left their posts earlier this month after being targeted by Israel.

At least 11 members of the police force in Rafah have been killed in Israeli air strikes in recent weeks, according to US officials. 

As a result of the security vacuum, many of the trucks that have recently entered Gaza have been overrun by criminal gangs, as well as Palestinians desperate for any kind of aid as the conditions in the enclave continue to increasingly deteriorate and hunger grows, McGoldrick said.

"The current situation isn't working," a US official told Axios. "Food must come in or we are going to have famine in Gaza — and this is going to dramatically damage Israel."

13:42 The UN human rights chief said that perpetrators of gross human rights violations in the Israel war on Gaza.

“The entrenched impunity that OHCHR — the UN rights agency — has reported on for many years cannot persist,” High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk said in a report on the situation in Gaza and in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

He said that this impunity had contributed to violations that could amount to international crimes.

Turk urged all parties to “put an end to impunity and conduct prompt, independent, impartial, thorough, effective and transparent investigations” into alleged crimes under international law.

He also called on them to implement a ceasefire on human rights and humanitarian grounds, to ensure full respect for international law, and to ensure accountability for violations and abuses.

Last month, the International Court of Justice in The Hague ordered Israel to prevent acts of genocide against Palestinians and do more to help civilians.

The UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA warned it has reached a critical juncture as it struggles to cope with the war in Gaza.

“It is with profound regret that I must now inform you that UNRWA has reached a breaking point,” chief Philippe Lazzarini said, as donors freeze funding, Israel exerts pressure to dismantle the agency and humanitarian needs soar.

“The Agency’s ability to fulfil the mandate given through General Assembly Resolution 302 is now seriously threatened,” he said in a letter to the assembly.

The World Food Programme said: "The malnutrition crisis in Gaza is accelerating. Malnutrition puts children's lives at immediate risk, and will impact the growth and development of those who survive – which will have consequences for generations to come."



At the Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza, Abu Gibril is so desperate for food to feed his family that he slaughtered two of his horses.

“We had no other choice but to slaughter the horses to feed the children. Hunger is killing us,” the 60-year-old told the AFP news agency.

Palestinian children in north Gaza, are now forced to eat animal fodder patties.



Mohamed Fattouh, just 45 days old, is one of the infants who lost their lives due to drought and severe malnutrition.

He went without milk for several days due to famine and the lack of food in northern Gaza.



13:29 A cargo ship that was struck by a Houthi ballistic missile on Monday has created an 18-mile-long oil slick in the Red Sea as it continues to take on water, US officials said.

The M/V Rubymar — a Belize-flagged, UK-registered, Lebanese-owned vessel — was carrying 41,000 tons of fertilizer when it was damaged in a Sunday missile strike claimed by the Houthi rebels.

Its crew was evacuated to Djibouti after one missile hit the side of the ship, causing water to enter the engine room and its stern to sag.

A second missile hit the vessel’s deck without causing major damage, Blue Fleet CEO Roy Khoury told AFP.

US Central Command said the ship is currently anchored as it takes on water. “The Houthis continue to demonstrate disregard for the regional impact of their indiscriminate attacks, threatening the fishing industry, coastal communities, and imports of food supplies,” US Central Command said.

The damage sustained by the Rubymar is potentially the most significant to a vessel caused by an attack launched by the Houthis, who have been targeting commercial shipping in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden in solidarity with the Palestinians.

13:18 Negotiators working on the Gaza ceasefire deal in Paris agreed to a new framework for a possible detainee swap between Israel and Hamas, Israeli media reported.

Negotiators from the United States, Egypt, Qatar, and Israel were meeting in Paris to try to reach a deal on the Israeli war on Gaza.

During the meeting on Friday, the mediators presented a new and updated outline for the deal for the release of captives that may allow a transition to detailed negotiations on an agreement, according to two sources familiar with the talks, speaking to Axios.

The Israeli delegation, which included Mossad head Dadi Barnea, Shin Bet chief Ronan Bar, and IDF representatives Major General Nitzan Alon and Major General Oren Seter, returned to Israel early Saturday morning, Axios reporter said in a post on X platform.

A plan put forward by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on post-war management for the Gaza Strip has been received coolly in Washington, with a White House spokesperson saying the Biden administration has been “consistently clear” with Israel about what it would like to see in the Palestinian territory after the war.

Speaking at a press briefing Friday, US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said: “The Palestinian people should have a voice and a vote… through a revitalized Palestinian Authority.”

Kirby said Washington has been “consistently clear with our Israeli counterparts” about what was needed. He said the US doesn’t “believe in a reduction of the size of Gaza… we don’t want to see any forcible displacement of Palestinians outside Gaza.”

12:38 Israeli forces arrested at least 22 Palestinians overnight in the occupied West Bank, including a journalist and two children, according to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society.

The arrests raise the total number of Palestinians detained since October to 7,210.

Raids were conducted in multiple locations, including Hebron, Tulkarem, Beit Furik, and villages near Jenin.

11:46 The Lebanese group Hezbollah claimed responsibility for targeting a group of Israeli soldiers on the Al-Kubra hills in a rocket attack.

Two rockets were fired this morning from Lebanon at the Adamit area, as reported by the Times of Israel. Both rockets landed in open areas, causing no injuries.

Overnight, the Israeli army said that it struck several Hezbollah positions in southern Lebanon, including in Ayta Ash-Shab and the vicinity of Hanine and Marwahin.

10:40 The Palestinian Ministry of Health announced a new toll of 29,606 people killed by Israel in the Gaza Strip since the beginning of the war.

In a statement, it also reported that at least 92 were killed in the past 24 hours, with a total of 69,737 injured since 7 October.

10:22 Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva renewed his accusation of Israel committing "genocide" in the Gaza Strip.

"In the same way that I said when I was in prison that I would not accept any deal to get out of prison and that I would not exchange my freedom for my dignity, I say: I will not exchange my dignity for falsehood," Lula said.

"Thousands of children are dead and thousands are missing. ...If this isn't genocide, then I don't know what genocide is."



10:00 People in Gaza are in extreme peril while the world watches on, the UNRWA said.

No one can claim “I did not know” as the images, footage, and voices of unspeakable suffering continue, the UN agency added,

"We cannot turn a blind eye to this human tragedy any longer."



09:50 Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh strongly denounced Israel’s recent announcement of plans to construct 3,000 new illegal settlement units as a “blatant challenge to the international community” and a significant obstacle to establishing an independent Palestinian state.

Shtayyeh emphasized that Israel’s actions demonstrate its disregard for international laws.

Israel intends to build more than 3,300 new homes in settlements in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, as announced by Israel's finance minister, far-right extremist Bezalel Smotrich.

He said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant participated in the discussion.

The decision will set in motion approval processes for 300 new homes in the Kedar settlement and 2,350 in Maale Adumim, situated east of occupied East Jerusalem. Furthermore, it will advance the previously approved construction of nearly 700 homes in Efrat.

Israeli settlement watchdog Peace Now highlighted that “Israel’s 2024 budget reflects an addition of over $100 million to settlements.”

“In 2024, coalition funds for settlements will amount to over $203m [instead of the originally allocated $76 million in the government decision from May 2023],” it added.

Secretary of State Tony Blinken said on Friday that Israeli settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank is "inconsistent with international law," reversing a Trump-era decision that had overturned decades of U.S. policy on the issue.

09:05 More than 100 Palestinians were reported killed early Saturday in overnight strikes across Gaza.

At least 24 people were killed in Gaza's Deir Al-Balah region when Israeli forces shelled a residence where displaced people were sheltering.

Meanwhile, Israel's spy chief was in Paris for talks seeking to "unblock" progress towards a truce and the return of captives.

Officials from Egypt, Qatar, the US, and Israel were expected to meet in Paris on Friday to resume negotiations on a potential deal for a ceasefire and prisoner swap between Hamas and Israel, according to media reports.

Head of Egypt’s General Intelligence Service Abbas Kamel, Qatar’s Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, CIA Director William Burns, Mossad Director David Barnea, and Director of the Israeli Security Agency (Shabak) Ronen Bar will take part in the talks.

The Paris negotiations come after a plan for a post-war Gaza unveiled by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu drew criticism from key ally the United States and was rejected by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas on Friday.

They also come as fears for civilians in the territory are deepening, with the UN warning of the growing risk of famine and its main aid body for Palestinians, UNWRA, saying that Gazans were "in extreme peril while the world watches on."

09:00 More than 100 Palestinians were reported killed early Saturday in overnight strikes across Gaza, with the most severe strikes occurring in Deir Al-Balah during the early hours of the morning.

Over 120 people, predominantly displaced Palestinians, had sought shelter in homes there.

At least 24 people were killed and more than 70 were injured, all reported to Al-Aqsa Hospital.

Women and children make up the vast majority of those killed.

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