Despite Cease-Fire Talks, Israeli Officials Cast Doubt: Reports

Abed Rahim Khatib/Anadolu via Getty Images

As representatives for Hamas arrived in Cairo to continue peacemaking negotiations on Saturday, Israeli officials appeared to reject the impending end of the war, according to several reports.

Israeli newspaper Haaretz spoke with an anonymous Israeli official Saturday who said “Israel will, under no circumstances, agree to end the war as part of a deal to release the hostages.” The Associated Press He also spoke with an anonymous Israeli source who corroborated the report.

Both outlets report the Israeli government is committed to conducting a ground offensive into Rafah, the Southern Gaza city where more than 1 million Palestinians have fled to shelter from Israel’s attacks in Gaza. Israel has given Hamas one week to reach a peace deal before it begins attacking Rafah, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

Al-Qahera, an Egyptian state-affiliated news channel, reported “noticeable progress” in the cease-fire talks Saturday, with Hamas calling for a complete end to the war and the full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza, according to the Associated Press. The Hamas delegation was meeting with officials from Qatar, who were conducting indirect negotiations facilitated by Egypt and the United States.

Egyptian mediators floated a three-part peace plan, the first phase of which would involve an immediate 40-day cease-fire for the partial release of Israeli hostages and withdrawal of some Israeli forces, per the AP.

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delayed sending an Israeli delegation to the peace talks until after he spoke with cabinet ministers Gadi Eisenkot and Benny Gantz, The Jerusalem Post reported, prolonging matters further.

The war in Gaza between Israel and Hamas is entering its eighth month since the Hamas attack on Oct. 7 led to 247 Israeli hostages and 1,143 deaths. Since then, more than 34,000 Palestinians have died as Israel mounted a counteroffensive throughout the Gaza Strip, according to data shared by the Gaza Health Ministry. The conflict has also led to widespread infrastructure damage in Gaza, including a famine in the north, according to UN officials.

 
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