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War in the Middle East: Gaza negotiations to continue

War in the Middle East: Gaza negotiations to continue

The talks about a ceasefire in Gaza are at a standstill. Now there is to be a new attempt. But the fighting continues unabated – also in Rafah. The news at a glance.

According to media reports, the negotiations over a hostage release and ceasefire that have stalled in the Gaza war may resume next week. Negotiators from the US, Israel and Qatar agreed at the end of their meeting in Paris to restart talks over the course of next week, the Times of Israel reported, citing an Israeli official. There are “new proposals.”

US officials have also spoken of progress in efforts to resume indirect negotiations, but there is no date yet, reported the US news portal Axios. Meanwhile, Israel’s army is continuing the fighting in the Gaza Strip – despite the call from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to immediately end the operation in Rafah in the south of the coastal strip.

Mass protests against Netanyahu in Israel

Meanwhile, last night there were renewed mass protests against the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in several Israeli cities. As the Times of Israel reported, the demonstrators demanded Netanyahu’s resignation, early elections and an agreement on the release of the hostages held by the Islamist Hamas in Gaza.

Arrests were reported at a central rally in Tel Aviv with, according to the organizers, more than 80,000 participants. The protesters accused Netanyahu of ignoring warnings before the Hamas attack on October 7 in the Israeli border region.

They also blamed him for the fate of the more than 100 hostages. If the government does not reach an agreement on their release, “Israel will ultimately be forced to end the war without the return of the hostages,” the newspaper quoted a relative of the abducted as saying.

Israel is said to have adjusted its negotiating position

The indirect negotiations between Israel and the radical Islamic Hamas, in which Egypt, Qatar and the USA are mediating, reached a dead end two weeks ago after several days of talks in Cairo and Doha. The main issue is that Hamas should release the Israeli hostages it has kidnapped. In return, Israel should release a large number of Palestinian prisoners from its prisons.

In addition, the Jewish state should stop its military operation in the Gaza Strip – whether temporarily or permanently is one of the points of contention. The head of the Israeli foreign intelligence service Mossad, David Barnea, presented points of an “updated” position of Israel at a meeting with CIA director William Burns and Qatar’s Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani in Paris last Friday, reported “Axios”.

Last Thursday, the Israeli war cabinet expanded the scope of its own negotiating team. This apparently made it possible for the indirect talks between Israel and Hamas to continue. However, it was initially unclear whether Hamas would return to the negotiating table. Sources from the Islamist organization said they had heard that the Israeli side was prepared to show flexibility on some points, but that nothing tangible had been seen yet.

US dock for Gaza aid damaged by sea swell

Meanwhile, high waves and stormy seas have damaged the temporary pier for humanitarian supplies to the Gaza Strip, which was completed just over a week ago. Due to the sea conditions, four US military ships involved in the mission became detached from their moorings, said the US regional command responsible for the Middle East (Centcom).

Two of the ships are now anchored on the beach near the temporary pier in front of the Gaza Strip. The other two are stranded off the Israeli coast near Ashkelon. The city is about 15 kilometers from Gaza. The Israeli military is helping to rescue all four ships, the statement said. US soldiers will not enter the Gaza Strip. There are no injuries and the pier is still functional.

Israel rejects Spanish minister’s “genocide” remark

Meanwhile, Israel’s embassy in Madrid on X rejected the statement by Spanish Defense Minister Margarita Robles that “a real genocide” was taking place in Gaza. “We regret that Defense Minister Margarita Robles has adopted the false and unfounded narrative of the terrorist Hamas organization.”

According to media reports, Robles said on the sidelines of the Armed Forces Day celebrations in Spain: “Spain is always very solidary. We must not forget that people are dying in Ukraine, it is a terrible war, and we must not ignore that what is currently happening in Gaza is a true genocide.” Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck had previously criticized Israel’s actions as being contrary to international law.

Israel’s army denies capture of its own soldiers by Hamas

Meanwhile, the Israeli armed forces continued their fighting against Hamas in the sealed-off Gaza Strip. The Israeli army immediately dismissed as false Hamas claims that they had captured Israeli soldiers during fighting in Jabalia in the north of the coastal region.

It was made clear “that there was no incident in which a soldier was kidnapped,” said the Israeli armed forces in a brief message on Telegram. The army had previously announced that it had killed dozens of enemy fighters in Jabalia, some in close combat and some through targeted air strikes. The Israeli troops also destroyed rocket launching positions and tunnel shafts and found a large number of weapons.

In Rafah in southern Gaza, Israeli soldiers again killed several Palestinian gunmen who had previously fired at the Israelis, the army announced. In addition, further weapons caches and tunnel shafts were found in Rafah. None of the information could initially be independently verified. The International Court of Justice had ordered Israel to immediately end the operation in Rafah.

With this decision, the World Court complied with a request from South Africa. The court’s decisions are binding. However, the UN judges have no power to force a state to implement them. Israel continues to point to its right to self-defense.

Source: Stern

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