May 19, 2024

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The war between Israel and Hamas: Hamas accepts the Egyptian-Qatari ceasefire proposal

The war between Israel and Hamas: Hamas accepts the Egyptian-Qatari ceasefire proposal

Jerusalem (AFP) – The Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) announced on Monday that it had accepted the Egyptian-Qatari ceasefire proposal for a ceasefire that has been ongoing for seven months. The war with Israel in GazaThis came hours after Israel issued an order to about 100,000 Palestinians to begin evacuating from the city of southern Israel RafahSuggesting that a long-promised ground invasion may be imminent.

There was no immediate comment from Israel on the deal, and the details of the proposal have not yet been published. In recent days, Egyptian and Hamas officials said a ceasefire would take place A series of stages During which Hamas will release the hostages it holds in exchange for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza.

It is not clear whether the deal will meet Hamas’s main demand of an end to the war and complete Israeli withdrawal.

Hamas said in a statement that its leader, Ismail Haniyeh, announced the news during a phone call with the Qatari Prime Minister and the Egyptian Minister of Intelligence. After the statement was issued, Palestinians broke into chants in the sprawling tent camps around Rafah, hoping that the agreement would avert an Israeli attack.

Israel’s closest allies, including the United States, have repeatedly said that Israel should not attack Rafah. The looming operation may Raised the global alarm Regarding the fate of about 1.4 million Palestinians who took refuge there.

Relief agencies warned that the attack would worsen the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza and lead to a higher civilian death toll in the Israeli campaign that for nearly seven months has killed 34,000 people and devastated the Strip.

US President Joe Biden spoke on Monday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and reiterated US concerns about the Rafah invasion. Biden said a ceasefire with Hamas is the best way to protect the lives of Israeli hostages being held in Gaza, a National Security Council spokesman said on condition of anonymity to discuss the call before an official White House statement.

Hamas and the main mediator Qatar said that the invasion of Rafah It will hinder efforts International mediators to reach a ceasefire. Days earlier, Hamas was discussing a US-backed proposal that reportedly raised the possibility of ending the war and withdrawing Israeli forces in exchange for the release of all hostages held by the movement. Israeli officials rejected this quid pro quo and pledged to continue their campaign until Hamas was destroyed.

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Netanyahu said on Monday that the capture of Rafah, which Israel says is its last, is important Hamas stronghold This was necessary to ensure that the militants were not able to rebuild their military capabilities and repeat the October 7 attack on Israel that led to the outbreak of war.

Lieutenant Colonel Nadav Shoshani, army spokesman, said that about 100,000 people had received orders to move from parts of Rafah to a nearby humanitarian zone declared by Israel called My condolencesA temporary camp on the coast. He said that Israel has expanded the size of the area to include tents, food, water and field hospitals.

However, it was not immediately clear whether these materials were already in place to accommodate the new arrivals.

About 450,000 displaced Palestinians are already taking refuge in Mawasi. The United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, known as UNRWA, said it was providing them with aid. But conditions are dire, with few bathrooms or sanitation facilities in the largely rural area, forcing families to dig private latrines.

After the evacuation order was announced on Monday, Palestinians in Rafah faced difficulty uprooting their extended families once again to an unknown fate, exhausted after months of living in sprawling camps or crammed into schools or other shelters in and around the city. Few who spoke to The Associated Press wanted to risk staying.

Muhammad Jundia said that at the beginning of the war, he tried to hold out in his home in northern Gaza after Israel ordered an evacuation there in October. He ended up suffering heavy bombardment before fleeing to Rafah.

This time he complied, but now he was not sure whether to move to Al-Mawasi or to another town in central Gaza.

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“We are 12 families, and we don’t know where to go. There is no safe area in Gaza.”

Sahar Abu Nahl, who was displaced to Rafah with 20 members of her family, including her children and grandchildren, wiped the tears from her cheeks, desperate for the new step.

“I don’t have money or anything. I’m so tired, and so are the kids,” she said. “Maybe it would be more honorable for us to die. “We are being humiliated.”

Israeli military leaflets accompanied by maps were dropped detailing a number of eastern neighborhoods in Rafah that would be evacuated, warning that an attack was imminent and that anyone who remained would be “exposing themselves and their family members to danger.” Text messages and radio broadcasts repeated the message.

Scott Anderson, the agency’s director in Gaza, said UNRWA would not evacuate Rafah so it could continue providing aid to those who would remain there.

“We will provide assistance to people wherever they choose to be,” he told the AP.

The United Nations says the attack on Rafah could disrupt the distribution of aid that keeps Palestinians alive across Gaza. The Rafah crossing into Egypt, the main entry point for aid into Gaza, is located in the evacuation zone. The crossing remained open on Monday after the Israeli order.

Jan Egeland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council, condemned the “forced and illegal” evacuation order and the idea that people should go to Moasi.

“The area is really sprawling and devoid of vital services,” Egeland said. He said that any Israeli attack could lead to “the bloodiest phase of this war.”

Israeli bombing and ground attacks in Gaza led to the deaths of more than 34,700 Palestinians. Two-thirds of them are children and womenAccording to health officials in Gaza. This outcome does not differentiate between civilians and combatants. More than 80% of the population of 2.3 million people have been displaced from their homes, and hundreds of thousands in the north are on the brink of famine, according to the United Nations.

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Tensions escalated on Sunday when Hamas fired rockets at Israeli forces stationed on the border with Gaza, near Israel’s main crossing into Israel. Delivery of humanitarian aidResulting in the killing of four soldiers. Israel closed the crossing, but Shoshani said that would not affect the amount of aid entering Gaza while others worked.

Meanwhile, Israeli air strikes on Rafah killed 22 people, including children and two infants, according to a hospital.

The war broke out because An unprecedented raid on October 7 on southern Israel Hamas and other militants killed about 1,200 people, most of them civilians, and kidnapped about 250 hostages. After an exchange of fire during a ceasefire in November, Hamas is believed to still be holding about 100 Israelis as well as the bodies of about 30 others.

The ceasefire mediators – the United States, Egypt and Qatar – appeared to be scrambling to salvage the ceasefire agreement they had been trying to push through over the past week. Egypt said it was in contact with all parties on Monday “to prevent the situation from getting out of control.”

An official familiar with the matter said that CIA Director William Burns, who was in Cairo for talks about the deal, went to meet the Prime Minister of Qatar. It was not clear whether the subsequent planned trip to Israel would take place. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss closed-door negotiations.

In a fiery speech on Sunday evening to mark Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day, Netanyahu rejected international pressure to stop the war, saying that “if Israel is forced to stand alone, Israel will stand alone.”

On Monday, Netanyahu accused Hamas of “torpedoing” the deal by not backing down on its demand for an end to the war and a complete withdrawal of Israeli forces in exchange for the release of the hostages, which he described as “extremist.”

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Basem Marwa reports from Beirut. Zeke Miller contributed to this report from Washington.