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Negotiations continue on possible truce in Gaza Strip before Ramadan

The negotiations between Hamas and international mediators continue today in Cairo in order to conclude a pre-Ramadan truce in Gaza Stripnearly five months after the outbreak of war between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist movement.

“The second day of negotiations in Cairo” with the participation of “the US, Qatar and Hamas have come to an end and the talks are expected to continue tomorrow to consider ways to achieve a truce in the Gaza Strip”, Al-Qahera television network, which is believed to have has close ties to Egyptian intelligence, cited as “senior official”.

Found out “significant progress in negotiations” which have been repeated since Sunday, with no Israeli delegation present, the official assured.

The mediators (Egypt, Qatar, USA) are trying to ensure that a truce is declared before Ramadan, the holy month for Muslims, which this year begins on the evening of March 10 or 11. The deal would include the release of hostages held in the Palestinian enclave in exchange for the release of Palestinian prisoners in Israel.

The USAIsrael's main ally, are increasingly calling for a ceasefire as a humanitarian disaster unfolds in the Gaza Strip.

“Deep Concern”

During her meeting yesterday Monday with Benny Gantz, a member of the Israeli wartime government and at the same time a major political opponent of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US Vice President Kamala Harris expressed her “deep concern” about the humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian enclave.

He also “called” on Hamas to “accept the terms on the table for the release of the hostages that would result in an immediate six-week ceasefire and allow for an increase in humanitarian aid,” according to a White House statement.

However, Hamas is demanding, before a deal is struck, a permanent ceasefire, the withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from the enclave and an increase in humanitarian aid throughout the Gaza Strip.

The government Netanyahu rejects these terms, declaring that Israeli military operations will continue until the “elimination” of the Palestinian Islamist movement.

The war erupted after an unprecedented attack launched on October 7 by Hamas's military arm in southern Israel centered on the enclave, where the Islamic Resistance Movement seized power in 2007. The attack killed 1,160 people, most of them civilians, according to by AFP tally based on official Israeli data.

Another 250+ people were abducted and taken to the Gaza Strip. According to Israeli sources, more than 130 hostages remain in the Palestinian enclave — of whom, however, 31 are believed to be dead – after the release of more than 105 hostages in exchange for the release of 240 Palestinians by Israel in late November, when a week-long truce was declared.

In retaliation for the attack, the Israel vowed to “eliminate” Hamas, in power in the Gaza Strip since 2007, which it, like the US and the EU, characterizes as a “terrorist” organization. In the Israeli military operations, 30,534 people have lost their lives, the vast majority of them women and children, according to the latest account of the Hamas Health Ministry, which was made public yesterday.

In order to achieve “total victory”, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has announced that the next target will be Rafah, in order to defeat the Palestinian Islamist movement in what he says is its “last stronghold”. In this city, on the closed border with Egypt, some one and a half million displaced people have piled up because of the fighting, in desperate conditions.

In Khan Yunis, north of the RafaPalestinians were yesterday picking up decomposing bodies from the streets of the city which was largely reduced to rubble.

“All are lost”

“It's depressing, unimaginable. We left 40 or 50 days ago and now find this awesome sight, as you can see. We no longer have neighbors, loved ones and friends around us. They are all lost,” said one of them, Nader Abu Sanab, in despair.

According to the UN, famine is “almost inevitable” for the Gaza Strip's 2.2 million residents, the vast majority of the population. Humanitarian aid always arrives in a trickle, while the needs are enormous.

The disastrous situation is exacerbated by tensions between the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for the Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) and Israel, demanding that this agency be disbanded.

The Israeli government yesterday accused the agency of employing “more than 450 terrorists” from Hamas and other groups in the Gaza Strip, and alleged that 12 of its employees were involved in the October 7 attack.

“Dissolving UNRWA would be short-sighted. If it did, a whole generation of children would be sacrificed, hatred, revulsion and future conflicts would be sown,” said Philippe Lazzarini, the head of the agency, on the floor of the UN General Assembly.

“Martyrdom”

Moreover, Mr. Lazzarini accused Israel of subjecting the Palestinians captured in the Gaza Strip to “torture” since the outbreak of the war.

“We saw people who returned from detention, some for a few weeks, others for a few months. Most of them return deeply wounded by the torture they experienced,” he explained.

There is a “wide range of abuse,” he explained. “People are systematically humiliated, photographed naked, subjected to verbal and psychological abuse, threats to give them electric shocks”, endure “sleep deprivation” and “use of dogs for intimidation”.

Earlier yesterday, UNRWA alleged that some of its workers were subjected to “torture” after being arrested by the Israeli army in the enclave.

“Our employees reported horrible things during their detention and in their interrogations,” that they suffered “torture” and “sexual abuse,” he stressed.

Recall of the Israeli ambassador to the United Nations

Israel announced yesterday the recall of the Israeli ambassador to UN Gilad Erdan for consultations, denouncing the international body's “silence” on the rape and sexual violence it accuses Hamas fighters of during the October 7 attack on Israeli soil.

In his speech to the General Assembly, Mr. Erdan went so far as to accuse the UN of “being a terrorist organization” in Gaza. The United Nations, according to critics, has been slow to react to the rape and sexual violence that Israel accuses of Hamas fighters — even though Secretary-General Guterres routinely condemns such actions in his speeches.

Yesterday Monday, the UN special rapporteur on sexual violence during armed conflicts, Pramila Patten, said, after her visit to Israel, that there are “good reasons to believe” that rapes were committed on October 7, as well as that hostages were raped in Gaza. .

It took “five months for the United Nations to finally recognize the heinous sexual crimes”, Mr Erdan argued, which he said exposed “the disgrace of the UN in front of everyone”.

Source: News Beast

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