Escalation in Gaza: Intense Battles Amidst Ceasefire Negotiations

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2024-01-29 | 01:39
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Escalation in Gaza: Intense Battles Amidst Ceasefire Negotiations
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4min
Escalation in Gaza: Intense Battles Amidst Ceasefire Negotiations

Intense battles took place in the southern Gaza Strip between Palestinian fighters and the Israeli army on the 114th day of the war yesterday. 
Meanwhile, Paris witnessed crucial talks between the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, William Burns, and senior officials from Egypt, Qatar, and Israel to discuss an agreement that includes a truce and the release of hostages in Gaza. 
 
The office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu considered the Paris meeting, which was attended by the heads of the Mossad and Shin Bet, as "constructive." However, the office pointed out that "there are still disagreements that the parties involved need to continue discussing this week in further meetings."
A well-informed source told "Nidaa al-Watan" that "the latest international messages received in Lebanon indicate that political negotiations in Doha, Cairo, Paris, and Athens have made significant progress regarding the exchange papers between Israel and Hamas. Discussions in these meetings focused on the latest document delivered by Hamas to Arab negotiating parties involved in talks with Israel, with active US participation."
The source revealed that the document handed by Hamas to Qatar and Egypt includes the following: Firstly, a declaration of a 20-day ceasefire period for negotiations on Israeli civilian hostages in exchange for the release of a large number of Palestinian prisoners, including thousands detained after last October's operation. Secondly, an immediate extension of the ceasefire for 30 days to negotiate the bodies of Israelis held by factions in Gaza.
Thirdly, an extension of the ceasefire for an additional 50 days to negotiate two fundamental issues: 1 - the release of living Israeli soldiers held by Palestinian factions, based on a "everyone-for-everyone" basis, i.e., "prison zeroing." 2 - Full Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. The source emphasized that "the three stages must be comprehensive with explicit international and UN guarantees."
After a report by NBC suggested that the Biden administration is considering using arms sales to Israel as leverage to compel Netanyahu's government to reduce military operations in Gaza, Washington affirmed that its policy regarding arming Israel has not changed.
Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General António Guterres appealed to donor countries to "ensure the continuity" of UNRWA's operations after many suspended funding due to Israeli accusations that agency employees may be involved in the October 7 attack.
Guterres stressed that "the heinous actions that these employees may have committed must have consequences," but he believed that "dozens of thousands of men and women working for UNRWA, many of them in some of the most dangerous conditions for humanitarian workers, should not be punished," emphasizing the need to meet the urgent needs of desperate populations receiving services from them.
In contrast, Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan criticized Guterres, asserting that he repeatedly ignored the "evidence" presented to him regarding UNRWA's involvement in "incitement and terrorism." At the same time, trucks loaded with humanitarian aid destined for the southern Gaza Strip were prevented from crossing near the Karam Abou Salem crossing, and the Israeli army declared the area around the crossing a "closed military zone."

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Gaza

Ceasefire

Israel

Palestine

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