Gaza ceasefire efforts to continue next week despite challenges

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office on Friday said an Israeli delegation will head to Qatar next week to continue negotiations over a Gaza cease-fire proposal.

According to Netanyahu’s office, the team will hold follow-up discussions next week in Qatar after today’s meeting in Doha between Mossad chief David Barnea and Qatar’s Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani.

The statement noted, however, that gaps between the two sides still exist.

Israel’s public broadcaster KAN quoted political sources saying that Barnea told the mediators that he is optimistic that Israel will accept a prisoner swap deal with Palestinian groups.

Barnea returned to Israel after holding a short visit to Qatar for cease-fire talks with Qatari officials.

Despite this, Israeli Cabinet ministers like Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich – notorious for their anti-Palestinian stances and policies – renewed their threats to topple the g overnment if any agreement is reached with Hamas.

Egypt, Qatar, and the US have been trying for months to secure a truce and the release of the 120 remaining hostages in Gaza, but to no avail.

Israel, flouting a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire, has faced international condemnation amid its continued brutal offensive on Gaza since an Oct. 7, 2023 attack by Palestinian group Hamas.

More than 38,000 Palestinians have since been killed, mostly women and children, and over 87,000 others injured, according to local health authorities.

Nearly n ine months into the Israeli war, vast tracts of Gaza lie in ruins amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water, and medicine.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice, whose latest ruling ordered it to immediately halt its military operation in the southern city of Rafah, where over a million Palestinians had sought refuge from the war before it was invaded on May 6.

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