Israeli team to Egypt for Gaza cease-fire talks


An Israeli negotiating team will head to Egypt in the coming hours for talks on a cease-fire and hostage swap deal with Hamas, an Israeli official said on Tuesday.

“The team will go to Cairo to listen and ask questions as the gaps are wide,” Israeli Channel 12 quoted the official as saying, without providing any further details.

Hamas said on Monday evening that it has accepted a Gaza cease-fire proposal drawn by Egypt and Qatar.

A Palestinian source told Anadolu that the cease-fire proposal includes a three-stage truce.

The first stage will last 40 days and includes a temporary cessation of military operations and Israeli troop withdrawal to the eastern areas of the Gaza Strip except for the Wadi Gaza area, which separates the territory’s north from its south, the source said.

After the release of all Israeli women held by Hamas, the Israeli army will withdraw from Al-Rasheed coastal road to the east to allow access to humanitarian aid and unhindered return of the displaced to their homes, he added.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Office said the truce offer accepted by Hamas does not meet its key demands, with the War Cabinet deciding to push ahead with an operation in Rafah in order to apply what it said “military pressure on Hamas with the goal of making progress on freeing the hostages and the other war aims.”

Israel has pounded the Gaza Strip in retaliation for an Oct. 7 Hamas attack, which killed about 1,200 people. Nearly 34,800 Palestinians have since been killed in Gaza, the vast majority of whom have been women and children, and 78,100 others injured, according to Palestinian health authorities.

Nearly seven months into the Israeli war, vast swathes of Gaza lay in ruins, pushing 85% of the enclave’s population into internal displacement amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water and medicine, according to the UN.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice. An interim ruling in January said it is “plausible” that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza, and ordered Tel Aviv to stop such acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

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