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Gaza: Hamas wants immediate permanent ceasefire, according to report

Gaza: Hamas wants immediate permanent ceasefire, according to report
Gaza: Hamas wants immediate permanent ceasefire, according to report

The Israeli government and Hamas are negotiating behind closed doors about a roadmap to end the Gaza war. The most contentious question is: When will the guns fall silent?

In the indirect negotiations between Israel and the Islamist Hamas on a settlement of the Gaza war, the start of the permanent ceasefire is emerging as the biggest point of contention. Hamas has insisted on a permanent ceasefire from the outset, the newspaper “The Times of Israel” reported on Thursday, citing two officials involved in the matter. Israel’s government, on the other hand, initially only wants a temporary ceasefire during which more hostages are to be released.

Hamas fears that without the guarantee of a permanent ceasefire, Israeli forces could resume fighting after the release of some of the hostages remaining in the Gaza Strip, the report added. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly stated that in his view the war cannot end until his government’s goals – such as destroying Hamas’ military capabilities – have been achieved.

At the end of May, US President Joe Biden surprisingly presented a three-stage plan for a ceasefire in the Gaza war. The plan envisages a temporary ceasefire, during which female, elderly and sick Israeli hostages will be released. In return, Palestinians imprisoned in Israel would be released. In the next phase, the fighting would then cease permanently and the remaining hostages would be released. In a final phase, according to the draft, the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip would begin.

The UN Security Council has already spoken out in favor of the proposal and recently adopted a corresponding resolution. Hamas has now put forward a series of proposed changes. But the Israeli government has not yet clearly agreed to the US plan.

According to a report by Israeli television channel Channel 13, Hamas is also demanding that the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip begin in the first phase and that Israel is not allowed to veto the selection of Palestinian prisoners to be released. “This is the most extreme response Hamas could have given,” the channel quoted an Israeli official as saying. “Under these conditions, it is difficult to start a negotiation.”

Blinken on proposed changes: “Some are feasible, some are not”

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had already described Hamas’ proposed changes as partially unrealistic on Wednesday in Doha. “Some of the changes are feasible, some are not,” he said after a meeting with his Qatari counterpart Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani. Blinken did not get any more specific. Qatar is determined to “bridge the gap” and bring Israel and Hamas closer to stopping the war, said Al Thani. “We hope that this phase will be as short as possible.” Qatar and the USA, as well as Egypt, are acting as mediators because Israel and Hamas are not negotiating directly with each other.

People stand in front of a burning and destroyed tent camp in Rafah in the Gaza Strip

Burning tents in Rafah: Deaths after Israeli airstrike on displaced persons camp

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WHO warns of catastrophic hunger in Gaza Strip

In view of the dramatic supply situation in the Gaza Strip, the World Health Organization (WHO) is warning of a further worsening of the humanitarian crisis. Many people in the area are exposed to “catastrophic hunger” and are living in conditions that resemble famine, said WHO Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Over 8,000 children under the age of five have been diagnosed with acute malnutrition. There is little prospect of improvement, he said: “Despite reports of increased food supplies, there are currently no signs that those in need are being supplied with food in sufficient quantity and quality.”

Source: Stern

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