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War in Gaza: Egypt wants to withdraw from negotiations

War in Gaza: Egypt wants to withdraw from negotiations

Peace negotiations between Israel and Gaza are deadlocked. There is international disagreement about a two-state solution in the Middle East. And in Israel, Netanyahu is coming under further pressure because of the Hamas hostages.

Israel’s government wants to resume talks about the release of all hostages still held in the Gaza Strip after the publication of disturbing video footage of the kidnapping of five Israeli soldiers. The War Cabinet instructed the negotiating team to continue efforts to secure the release of the abductees, Israeli media reported on Thursday night, citing a statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office.

Meanwhile, thousands of people protested in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, demanding the immediate release of hostages kidnapped during the Hamas massacre on October 7. The families of the abductees called on the Israeli government to “not waste another moment” and to return to the negotiating table immediately.

Egypt threatens to withdraw as Gaza mediator

Meanwhile, Egypt has threatened to withdraw from its role as mediator in the Gaza war between Israel and the Islamist Hamas. Continued attempts to cast doubt on Egyptian mediation efforts and its role with false claims will only further complicate the situation in the Gaza Strip and across the region, Diaa Rashwan, head of Egypt’s state information service, said in a statement posted on social media on Wednesday evening Notice.

This could “lead the Egyptian side to decide to withdraw completely from mediation in the conflict.” He was reacting to a CNN report that Egyptian intelligence had changed a ceasefire proposal accepted by Israel without consulting the other mediators.

Since Israel and Hamas do not negotiate directly with each other, Egypt, Qatar and the USA act as mediators. According to the US broadcaster CNN, Egypt’s secret service is said to have quietly changed the proposal for a ceasefire that had already been accepted by Israel and added further demands from Hamas. When the Islamists agreed to an agreement on May 6, it did not correspond to the proposal that other mediators thought had been presented to Hamas for consideration, the broadcaster reported, citing three unnamed people familiar with the deliberations Persons. The incident caused enormous anger and led to a dead end in the talks.

Netanyahu under pressure over Hamas hostages

The video, which was previously published in Israel and is a compilation of bodycam footage taken by the terrorists, shows injured, sometimes bloodied young women with their heavily armed kidnappers. The women had been deployed as army scouts in the border area with the Gaza Strip. They are obviously frightened and have their arms tied behind their backs. Terrorists repeatedly shout at them and threaten them. The women’s parents had agreed to the publication of the video in the hope that the horrific images could contribute to the release of their daughters and other hostages as a result of a deal between Israel and Hamas.

Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu, who is under pressure from domestic politics, said after the video was published: “We will continue to do everything we can to bring them home,” he promised, according to the Israeli news site “Ynet.” “The cruelty of the Hamas terrorists only encourages me to fight with all my strength to eliminate Hamas so that what we saw tonight can never be repeated.”

In the unprecedented terrorist attack by Hamas in the Israeli border area on October 7th, around 1,200 people were killed and more than 250 others were kidnapped as hostages in the Gaza Strip. The attack triggered Israel’s military offensive in the sealed-off coastal area, which has so far killed more than 35,700 people, according to the Hamas-controlled health authority. The count, which is difficult to verify independently, does not differentiate between fighters and civilians.

USA: Israel’s military operation in Rafah is targeted

According to the US government, Israel’s advance in the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip has not yet reached the extent that it warned its ally about. “Israeli military operations to date in this area have been more targeted and limited and have not included major military operations in the center of densely populated urban areas,” US President Joe Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan said in Washington on Wednesday. He was asked whether Israel had addressed the US government’s concerns and supported what the Israeli military was doing there. “We now have to wait and see how the situation develops,” emphasized Sullivan. The USA rejects one because of the high number of civilians.

The USA is critical of the announced recognition of Palestine

Following the announcement of the recognition of Palestine as a state by several European countries, EU chief diplomat Josep Borrell continues to advocate a two-state solution in the Middle East. “I note today’s announcement by two EU member states – Ireland and Spain – as well as Norway to recognize the state of Palestine,” the EU foreign policy chief wrote on Platform X on Wednesday evening. “Within the framework of the Common Foreign and Security Policy, I will work tirelessly with all member states to promote a common EU position based on a two-state solution.” Germany also emphasizes the goal of a two-state solution. However, Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu rejects this, as does Hamas, which denies Israel the right to exist.

The USA, as Israel’s most important ally, is critical of the announced recognition of Palestine by several European countries. “We believe that a two-state solution that is fair to both Israelis and Palestinians can only be achieved through direct negotiations between the parties,” Sullivan said Wednesday. The Biden administration has been working on this for a long time. It is not clear to him how the unilateral recognition of Palestine contributes to actual progress towards a peace process or ceasefire.

Gallant is pushing ahead with the reconstruction of settlements in the West Bank

Meanwhile, Israeli Defense Minister Joav Galant is pushing ahead with the repopulation of four towns in the northern West Bank that were evacuated in 2005. According to media reports on Wednesday, Galant described the lifting of orders that had banned Israelis from entering the area of ​​the former settlements of Ganim, Kadim and Sanur as a “historic step.” Access to a fourth settlement had already been approved.

During the Six-Day War in 1967, Israel conquered the West Bank and East Jerusalem, among other places. Around 700,000 Israelis now live there in more than 200 settlements. In 2016, the UN Security Council described these settlements as illegal under international law and called on Israel to stop all settlement activities. The Palestinians want to establish their own state in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.

Source: Stern

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