Gaza: Al-Fitr humanitarian ceasefire possible…and Netanyahu praises Biden administration

On Sunday, Israel's wartime government sent Mossad chief David Barnia to lead a high-level delegation to Cairo talks as the parties try to reach an agreement aimed at concluding an agreement on a temporary ceasefire in the Gaza Strip. He called for a “humanitarian ceasefire” during Eid al-Fitr. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the international community that there would be no ceasefire without the return of abducted people.

Israeli reports said the war cabinet decided to expand the powers of the negotiating team, which includes Shin Bet chief Ronen Barr and military representative Nitzan Alon among the hostages in an effort to reach an agreement. US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) chief William Burns is also involved in the talks.

In statements made by the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation (“Can 11”), an Israeli official said: “We are in critical days regarding the possibility of reaching an agreement. Negotiations are already underway to reach an agreement by the start of Eid al-Adha. Fitr, and tonight we will know if Hamas really cares.” “With an agreement reached,” the Israeli delegation will travel to Cairo this evening (Sunday), according to reports.

Senior Egyptian sources suggested that the current round of talks led by mediators in Cairo would succeed in reaching a “humanitarian cease-fire” and a temporary ceasefire in the Gaza Strip in the days of Eid al-Fitr. “With the agreement strongly approaching, an announcement from Cairo is likely,” they opined.

Sources indicated that Cairo “has received assurances that the head of Mossad will participate in meetings in the coming hours”. Meanwhile, Hamas leader Bassem Naim pointed out, “The prospects are still open to all options. We believe that the failure of Netanyahu and his government and internal and external pressures will put pressure on a ceasefire and the withdrawal of occupation forces from Gaza.”

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The Walla website quoted a senior Israeli official as saying, “The cabinet's directives to the negotiating team are to clarify the mediators' proposal in detail and try to return Tel Aviv to a formula that could lead to an agreement.” The Israeli official said: “They are empowered to return to determine what can be accomplished,” referring to the available treaty formula.

Preparing for tough decisions

The Khan 11 channel, citing a source it described as “informed” of the talks, said before the War Cabinet session was held that it had been decided to send a delegation to participate in the Cairo talks, “in which Israel is needed”. The grid, making tough decisions, when it's not strategic, can't get very far.

In turn, Channel 13 said talk of giving the negotiating delegation “expanded powers” was false, and pointed out that the War Cabinet had tasked the negotiators with “what the mediators say, what they offer and what they do”. Hamas wants to accept; The negotiating team will then return to Israel and the expanded cabinet will outline the proposed proposals.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi met with the head of the CIA in Cairo, and the meeting discussed “joint Egyptian, Qatari and American efforts to achieve a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.” “The latest developments in the field situation in Gaza imposes the need to intensify efforts to calm the situation and stop the military escalation,” the Egyptian presidential office said.

Al-Sisi stressed the severity of the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, amounting to “famine” and agreed with the US official “on the need to protect civilians and the risk of military escalation in Rafah city. Totally rejecting displacement of Palestinians from their lands.”

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At the same time, Netanyahu said during his government meeting today, Sunday, “Half a year into the war, we eliminated 19 of the 24 Hamas brigades, eliminated the senior leaders, we killed, injured or captured the majority of Hamas saboteurs, al-Shifa (hospital) and the headquarters of several terrorist leaderships. We cleaned up, we destroyed missile workshops, command rooms, arms and ammunition stockpiles and we are systematically destroying what is underground. We are one step away from victory. But the price exacted from us is painful and heartbreaking.

Netanyahu promised to return 133 hostages held in the Gaza Strip. I made it clear to the international community that there will be no ceasefire without the return of the abductees. This is the policy of the Israeli government, and I salute the Biden administration for making it clear the day before yesterday. This is still its position.”

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