Egypt, Qatar, US negotiators make ‘significant progress’ towards Gaza ceasefire: Al-Qahera News

Ahram Online , Monday 4 Mar 2024

Negotiators from Egypt, Qatar, and the US as well as Hamas envoys have made “significant progress” towards a ceasefire in Gaza, Al-Qahera News reported on Monday, the second day of talks.

Palestinians transport a water tank along a street in Gaza City on March 3, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Hamas movement. AFP


The mediators have been pushing for a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel in the five-month-old aggression on Gaza.

The latest proposal calls for a six-week halt to fighting and the release of hostages.

The TV channel cited a high-level source saying negotiations are set to continue on Tuesday with the participation of “all parties.”

Israeli media reported on Sunday that Tel Aviv did not send its delegation to Cairo for truce talks after learning that Hamas did not provide the list of captives it holds.

Egypt and Qatar have been pressing for a ceasefire and a prisoner swap deal before the advent of the fasting month of Ramadan, a week away.

US Vice President Kamala Harris urged Hamas to agree to an “immediate ceasefire” during an event in Alabama, citing the “immense scale of suffering” in the Gaza Strip.

Global pressure mounting

Successive talks in Paris, Doha, and Cairo between mediators from Egypt, Qatar, and the US are focused on effecting a ceasefire at least for a few weeks to facilitate aid delivery and the exchange of detainees.

Previous reports noted a potential agreement between Hamas and Israel, including a six-week ceasefire and the release of dozens of Israeli captives held in Gaza in exchange for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons.

“Significant gaps” have been reported in a potential framework agreement with Hamas insisting on a permanent ceasefire and full withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza.

Israel, which says it is fighting this war to defeat Hamas and release the captives, had the chance to free its hostages through a six-day truce brokered by Egypt, Qatar, and the US in November.

The November truce allowed the release of around 100 Israeli captives, almost half of the captives.

The Israeli war machine has proceeded with its operations in Gaza despite protests against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calling for a ceasefire in Gaza to allow the release of captives.

Public pressure against Israel is mounting especially after Hamas confirmed last week that seven of the captives were killed by Israeli bombardment, along with a number of the movement’s fighters.

Subsequently, Hamas rejected an Israeli demand for a complete list naming captives that are still alive, which caused Israel to boycott the talks in Cairo, adding another hurdle for achieving calm.

People pay the price


The Palestinian people are paying a heavy cost of Israel’s unrelenting assaults in Gaza since 7 October.

The Israeli forces killed 30,534 Palestinians and injured 71,920 in the strip, according to the health ministry in Gaza. Most of the victims are women and children.

The Israeli war has displaced almost all Gaza civilians and left nearly a quarter of Gaza’s 2.3 million population on the brink of famine, according to UN figures.

Israel is impeding aid delivery to Gaza, which has prompted Egypt and the US to make their first airdrops over the last week.

US President Joe Biden told Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni on Friday that the aid delivered to Gaza is “nowhere nearly enough.”

Moreover, Israeli forces have shot dead more than 100 Palestinians and injured hundreds approaching an aid truck in Gaza on Thursday, sparking public and official outcries.

Egypt called the incident “inhumane” and urged for providing protection to Palestinians, highlighting the necessity for an immediate ceasefire.

By Ramadan, Israel plans a ground invasion of the city of Rafah, whose population swelled from 200,000 to nearly 1.5 million, most of whom are displaced by the war.

The world has expressed concerns over the “catastrophic” consequences of such offensive, calling for an immediate ceasefire to the fighting that has driven Gaza to suffer one of the worst humanitarian crises.

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