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Gaza war: Israel offers Hamas a 40-day ceasefire for 33 hostages

Gaza war: Israel offers Hamas a 40-day ceasefire for 33 hostages

Will Hamas agree to a hostage deal before Israel invades the city of Rafah? The Israelis are also worried about investigations against Benjamin Netanyahu.

In the renewed attempt to reach a ceasefire in the Gaza war, the negotiating partners are hoping that the Islamist Hamas will give in in view of Israel’s impending offensive in Rafah. US President Joe Biden called on Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al Sisi and Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad al Thani to “make every effort to secure the release of the hostages held by Hamas,” the White House said on Monday evening (local time). This is the only obstacle to a ceasefire.

According to British Foreign Minister David Cameron, Hamas had an offer for a 40-day ceasefire. According to media reports, after talks in Cairo, the Hamas delegation left the venue and wanted to return with an answer. According to the Times of Israel, an Israeli delegation is expected to come to Cairo on Tuesday.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who is currently traveling again in the region, spoke of a “very, very generous” proposal from Israel. Biden’s spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre called on Hamas to agree to this. “In recent days there has been new progress in the talks and at the moment the onus is actually on Hamas. There is an offer on the table and they must accept it,” she said. Israeli media had previously reported that the proposal included the release of 33 hostages held by Hamas. In return, Israel intends to release several hundred Palestinian prisoners from prison. Cameron even spoke on Monday that “potentially thousands” of Palestinians could be released in a deal.

Protests in Israel over hostage deal

When asked whether possible arrest warrants from the International Criminal Court against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could torpedo negotiations on a ceasefire, the White House responded evasively. They do not support the investigation and are also convinced that the criminal court in The Hague – which is not recognized by the USA – has no legal jurisdiction, said spokeswoman Jean-Pierre and left it at that. Israeli media had previously reported that Netanyahu feared that chief prosecutor Karim Khan could issue international arrest warrants for him, his Defense Minister Joav Galant and Chief of General Staff Herzi Halevi this week. The Criminal Court has been investigating Hamas and Israel since 2021 for alleged war crimes in the Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile, in Israel, several thousand people demonstrated in Tel Aviv on Monday evening for a negotiated solution to release the Israeli hostages held by Hamas. “Rafah can wait – she can’t,” read one banner at the rally, according to Israeli media reports. Relatives of hostages also spoke at the demonstration, calling on the government to reach a ceasefire and bring the hostages back. According to media reports, there were clashes with the police on the sidelines. A water cannon was used and five arrests were made. According to the Times of Israel, opponents of a deal with Hamas threatened to go on hunger strike unless the army marched into the city of Rafah, as had been announced for months.

Negotiations with Hamas instead of offensive

The extent to which Israel continues its attacks in Rafah and expands it into a large-scale offensive depends on the outcome of the negotiations currently taking place in Cairo. Despite repeated warnings from allies about hundreds of thousands of internally displaced people in the city bordering Egypt, Israel wants to dismantle the remaining Hamas battalions in Rafah. Israel’s right-wing extremist Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich threatened on Sunday to end Netanyahu’s government if the hostage deal currently being negotiated was implemented and a military operation in Rafah was stopped. Netanyahu’s political survival depends on his far-right coalition partners.

If the criminal court in The Hague issues arrest warrants against Netanyahu and other Israelis, it will lead to a “wave of anti-Semitism around the world” that could destroy a possible hostage agreement, the Times of Israel quoted an unnamed Israeli officials. This is not a threat to withdraw from talks about a hostage deal. However, international pressure on Israel reduces the pressure on Hamas to compromise.

Concern about investigations against Netanyahu

Legally, arrest warrants from the Criminal Court would mean that states that have signed the statutes of the Court would be obliged to arrest these people and transfer them to The Hague – provided they are in the territory of these states. Like the USA, Israel does not recognize the criminal court. But the Palestinian territories are a contracting state.

Israel: New hostage video increases pressure on government

© AFP PHOTO / HAMAS MEDIA OFFICE

New hostage video increases pressure on Israeli government

02:52 mins

The International Court of Justice will make a preliminary decision this Tuesday in the proceedings surrounding Nicaragua’s lawsuit against Germany for alleged complicity in the genocide in the Gaza Strip. The United Nations’ highest court in The Hague is initially only deciding on an urgent application from Nicaragua, which, among other things, had called for a stop to arms deliveries. The country argues that German arms exports to Israel are enabling genocide. Germany rejected the lawsuit as baseless. The judges are not yet deciding on the actual lawsuit for aiding and abetting genocide. This will only be the focus of the main proceedings, which could drag on for years. Decisions of the court are binding.

Source: Stern

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