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War in the Middle East: New attempt for hostage deal in the Gaza war

War in the Middle East: New attempt for hostage deal in the Gaza war

The humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip is getting worse. Can the mediators negotiate a ceasefire this time? The news at a glance.

After weeks of stalemate in the Gaza war, there are increasing signs of possible progress in negotiations for a ceasefire and the release of hostages. The talks between international mediators were “constructive,” said US National Security Council communications director John Kirby in Washington.

According to media reports, the mediators are meeting in Paris today for a new round of negotiations. Israel also wants to send a delegation in light of reports that the Islamist Hamas has weakened its position, the Times of Israel reported.

Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Galant said after a meeting with White House Middle East Coordinator Brett McGurk that Israel would “expand” the mandate of its negotiators for the hostage talks, according to the Ynet news site. A Hamas leader said the same day that he believed a new hostage deal was possible in the near future.

During a week-long ceasefire last November, 105 hostages were released in return for 240 Palestinian prisoners as part of a deal between Israel and Hamas. According to Israeli information, at most around 100 of the remaining hostages are still alive.

Israel’s army: terrorist attack in the West Bank foiled

The Israeli military says it has foiled a terrorist attack in the West Bank city of Jenin. The army announced early this morning that a member of the terrorist organization Islamic Jihad was eliminated in a drone strike in Jenin. The man was on his way to carry out an attack. He has been involved in several attacks on Israeli communities and military posts in recent months.

The Ministry of Health in Ramallah announced late in the evening that a bullet had hit a vehicle in Jenin. One person was killed and several others were injured, one of them critically. According to the treating hospital in Jenin, the critically injured teenager died in the morning. He is said to have been 17 years old.

The two people killed were members of the Jenin Brigades, which are close to Islamic Jihad, the terrorist organization’s military wing said. The group was also involved in the massacre in Israel on October 7th.

More terrorists killed in operation in Gaza

The Israeli army says it has killed more opponents in the fighting that has been going on for weeks in the west of the city of Khan Yunis in the south of the Gaza Strip. The military said snipers and drones had killed more than ten terrorists in the past 24 hours.

During the operation, three terrorists fired a rocket-propelled grenade at the Israeli troops. They were eliminated. There were no injuries on the Israeli side, it was said. A weapons depot, a command center and an area where several terrorists were in the immediate vicinity of the troops were also destroyed. The military’s information could not initially be independently verified.

Several terrorists were also killed and weapons caches were found in the north and in the center of the sealed-off coastal strip, it said. The troops also uncovered additional tunnel shafts.

Eyewitnesses: Protests in Gaza against Hamas

According to eyewitnesses, hundreds of Palestinians demonstrated in the Gaza Strip for more aid deliveries and against Hamas. Participants in the spontaneous rally in the north of the coastal area held signs with slogans like “Down with Hamas!” and “We want to eat, end the war – our children are dying of hunger.”

Children reportedly knocked on empty dishes to show the lack of food. Eyewitnesses reported to the dpa that police officers provided by Hamas fired in the direction of the demonstrators in order to disperse the people. There were initially no reports of injuries. The information can hardly be verified independently.

According to the UN World Food Program (WFP), more and more people in the Gaza Strip are at risk of starvation. According to reports, there were riots during food deliveries to the north. In some places, entire trucks have recently been looted. Shots were fired and a truck driver was attacked and injured. The WFP then announced that it would temporarily suspend food deliveries to northern Gaza.

The head of the UN refugee agency UNRWA, Philippe Lazzarini, meanwhile accused Israeli forces within the government apparatus of concerted actions to hinder the organization’s work. The aid organization could soon no longer fulfill the mandate given by the UN General Assembly, wrote Lazzarini in a letter to the President of the UN General Assembly.

Report: Netanyahu presents post-war plan

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has presented his plan for managing the Gaza Strip after the war to the Security Cabinet, according to the Times of Israel newspaper. This provides – as Netanyahu has repeatedly reiterated – for full security control over the entire coastal area by the Israeli military, the newspaper reported.

Regarding the future administration of the Gaza Strip, the policy paper states in vague terms that it would be led by “local officials” with professional experience. These will be people without connections to “countries or organizations that support terrorism”.

The Palestinian Authority (PA), which governs the West Bank, is not specifically named in the plan, the report said. However, this does not exclude their participation in the future administration of the Gaza Strip. The USA is relying on a revamped PA led by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and wants it to take control again in the Gaza Strip.

Israel rejects this and accuses the autonomous authority of supporting terror. In 2007, Hamas violently seized sole power in the Gaza Strip a year after its election victory. Israel’s stated goal is to destroy Hamas militarily and free the hostages.

Demand in Israel for settlement construction in the West Bank

After a Palestinian terrorist attack near Jerusalem, Israel’s right-wing extremist Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich wants to push ahead with settlement construction in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. As the Times of Israel newspaper reported last night, the committee responsible for approving the construction of settler houses will meet shortly for this purpose.

Smotrich wants more than 3,000 additional houses to be built in the West Bank, it said. He was reacting to a terrorist attack the day before on a highway near Jerusalem in which, according to paramedics, at least one Israeli was killed and several people were injured, some seriously. According to Israeli domestic intelligence, the three perpetrators were Palestinians from Bethlehem in the West Bank. They were killed in the attack.

What is important today

According to unconfirmed reports, senior mediators in the Gaza war in Paris want to continue talks about a possible ceasefire and the release of the hostages.

Source: Stern

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