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Six-week ceasefire 'basically accepted' by Israel and awaiting Hamas, US official says

The Israelis have “basically accepted” a proposed six-week ceasefire in Gaza, a senior Biden administration official told reporters on Saturday (2). A second phase would be designed over these six weeks “to build something more lasting”.

The six-week ceasefire would allow for the release of hostages held in Gaza and the flow of aid to the beleaguered coastal enclave.

This official said there is a “framework agreement” that Israel has “more or less accepted.” The critical point, the official said, is that Hamas has not yet agreed on a “defined category of vulnerable hostages.”

US officials said on Friday that negotiations to reach a ceasefire agreement to halt fighting between Hamas and Israel in Gaza until Ramadan – just a week away – appeared to be on track, even after more than 100 Palestinians were killed on Thursday while trying to access food in Gaza City.

On Friday afternoon, President Joe Biden called for an “immediate ceasefire.”

“We are trying to reach an agreement between Israel and Hamas on the return of the hostages and an immediate ceasefire in Gaza for at least the next six weeks and to allow for increased aid to the Gaza Strip,” Biden said during a meeting with the Italian Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni.

US officials said on Friday that there was no indication that the discussions had been significantly hampered by the deaths at the aid sites, but that this depended on an expected response from Hamas to what was discussed in Paris and Doha, Qatar. , last week. Qatar, Egypt, Israel and the US were involved in these negotiations. On Thursday (29), a Hamas representative warned, however, that the negotiations could be affected.

Officials from several countries who have been instrumental in the ceasefire negotiations have yet to comment on Saturday's news.

As international efforts to broker a ceasefire continue, more talks are planned in Cairo, two sources familiar with the matter said Saturday. Negotiators from the US, Israel, Egypt and Hamas are expected to participate, a diplomatic source familiar with the discussions said. It is unclear whether Qatar will attend. Israel has asked Hamas for a list of hostages, including who is alive and who is dead.

Also on Saturday, a White House official said Vice President Kamala Harris would meet on Monday with Israeli war cabinet member Benny Gantz, amid US pressure for a temporary ceasefire. .

“The vice president will discuss the urgency of securing a hostage agreement, which would allow for a temporary ceasefire, and the need to significantly expand and sustain aid flows to Gaza given the dire humanitarian situation,” the official said, adding that Harris would reiterate that the US is prepared to increase aid through airdrops and a sea corridor.

Harris has been involved in “day after” planning for Gaza — and those discussions will continue Monday with Gantz, who is also scheduled to meet with national security adviser Jake Sullivan.

A senior administration official said Friday that the U.S. is still racing to try to get a deal across the finish line by Ramadan.

Biden had said earlier in the week that he hoped there would be a ceasefire in Gaza by Monday, but he gave a mixed assessment of that possibility on Friday, saying: “I think we will get there, but we are not there yet.” . And it may not get there now.”

Those involved in the discussions said a deal would likely be implemented in multiple phases and would include the release of a group of Israeli hostages – including women, children, elderly and sick hostages – in exchange for a smaller number of Palestinian prisoners than Hamas had initially. demanded.

News of the potential ceasefire came the same day the US and Jordan airdropped humanitarian aid into Gaza, “part of a sustained effort to bring more aid to Gaza, including by expanding the flow of aid through corridors and land routes,” the US said. Central Command said.

After the airdrops, Biden said on social media that the amount of aid flowing into Gaza was “not enough,” adding that the US “will continue to make every effort possible to get more aid.”

The post echoed remarks made by the president at the White House on Friday: “We will insist that Israel facilitate more trucks and more routes to get more and more people the help they need, without excuses,” he said. “Innocent lives are at risk and children’s lives are at risk.”

This story has been updated with additional information.

*MJ Lee and Oren Liebermann collaborated

Source: CNN Brasil

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