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Hope Rises for New Talks on Gaza Stop-fire as Israel Scales Again Calls for

Israeli negotiators, providing a touch of hope for negotiations over a cease-fire within the Gaza Strip, have diminished the variety of hostages they need Hamas to launch through the first section of a truce, three Israeli officers mentioned on Monday.

For weeks, cease-fire talks have been at a standstill. Now, with the brand new proposal in hand, a mid-ranking delegation from Israel was planning to fly to Cairo on Tuesday to renew them — however provided that Hamas agrees to attend, in accordance with two of the officers. They spoke on the situation of anonymity to debate the delicate concern.

Hamas didn’t reply to a request for remark about whether or not it will ship representatives to Cairo. A senior Hamas official mentioned on social media on Monday that the group was finding out a brand new Israeli proposal.

The American secretary of state, Antony J. Blinken, who was assembly in Saudi Arabia on Monday with Arab diplomats, mentioned the onus was now on Hamas.

“Hamas has earlier than it a proposal that’s terribly beneficiant on the a part of Israel,” Mr. Blinken mentioned at an financial discussion board in Riyadh. “And for the time being, the one factor standing between the folks of Gaza and a cease-fire is Hamas.”

Talking on the similar discussion board, the British international minister, David Cameron, mentioned the provide included a sustained 40-day cease-fire and the discharge of probably 1000’s of Palestinians imprisoned in Israel in change for the hostages being held by Hamas.

The Egyptian international minister, Sameh Shoukry, mentioned he was “hopeful” concerning the newest cease-fire provide, although he didn’t say what it concerned or who had made it.

In search of to extend the strain on Hamas leaders to just accept the cease-fire deal, President Biden deliberate to talk on Monday with the leaders of Egypt and Qatar.

However different severe obstacles could stay, amongst them Hamas’ demand for a everlasting cease-fire and Israel’s insistence on pursuing its objective of rooting out the militants, together with of their final bastion within the southern metropolis of Rafah.

And there was additionally concern that cease-fire talks is likely to be disrupted if the Worldwide Legal Courtroom points arrest warrants for senior Israeli authorities officers on prices associated to the battle with Hamas, as Israeli and international officers consider is within the works. The warrants can also title Hamas officers.

Hamas and its allies captured roughly 240 Israelis and foreigners within the lethal Oct. 7 assault that set off the battle. Throughout a weeklong cease-fire in November, Hamas launched 105 captives in change for 240 Palestinians being held in Israeli prisons.

In latest months, Israel has been demanding that Hamas launch not less than 40 extra hostages — ladies, older folks and people who are critically sick — to safe a brand new truce. Now it’s ready to accept solely 33, the Israeli officers mentioned.

The shift was prompted partly by the truth that Israel now believes that among the 40 have died in captivity, in accordance with one of many officers.

Whilst expectations rose that Hamas and Israeli negotiators is likely to be edging nearer to their first truce because the November cease-fire, their fighters had been urgent on.

In Gaza, Israeli airstrikes flattened concrete buildings in a single day, in accordance with information companies, which printed video on Monday of rows of physique baggage. The Reuters information company mentioned the strikes had killed 20 folks.

The Israeli army issued an announcement on Monday saying that its “fighter jets struck terror targets the place terrorists had been working inside a civilian space in southern Gaza.”

Multiple million Gazans have crowded into shelters and tents in Rafah to hunt security from Israel’s army offensive.

One survivor, carrying a child she mentioned had been pulled from the rubble, instructed a Reuters video journalist that the kid seemed to be unhurt, however that her mother and father had been killed.

“Take a look at us with some compassion, with some humanity,” mentioned the lady, Umm Fayez Abu Taha. “That is all we ask for. We’re not asking for a lot: Simply finish the battle, nothing extra.”

In northern Israel, a salvo of Hamas rockets came visiting the border from Lebanon. The Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s army wing, mentioned in an announcement that it had focused an Israeli army place in Kiryat Shmona, the most important metropolis in Israel’s far north, with a “concentrated rocket barrage.”

Although Hamas is predicated in Gaza, a lot of its leaders reside in exile in Lebanon, the place the group has a large presence. Because the battle started, Hamas has often launched rocket assaults into northern Israel from there, although its ally Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant group, has launched much more. Each teams are backed by Iran.

The rocket barrage on Monday, which was reported to have carried out little harm, was seemingly an try by Hamas to sign it was “nonetheless a part of the battle,” mentioned Mohanad Hage Ali, a Beirut-based fellow with the Carnegie Center East Heart.

After arriving in Riyadh shortly after daybreak, Secretary of State Blinken met with the Saudi international minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan, after which with international ministers and prime international coverage advisers from 5 different Arab nations. Mr. Blinken spoke with them concerning the battle and the challenges it has created, from getting humanitarian support into Gaza to liberating the hostages.

The American secretary of state and the Saudi international minister additionally talked about higher regional integration and “a pathway to a Palestinian state with safety ensures for Israel,” the State Division abstract mentioned. Later within the day, Mr. Blinken met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto chief of Saudi Arabia, after which attended a working dinner with officers from 5 Arab and 5 European nations to debate the battle. He deliberate to journey to Jordan and Israel on Tuesday.

In its best-case situation, the Biden administration envisions Saudi Arabia and maybe just a few different Arab nations agreeing to normalize diplomatic relations with Israel. In change, Saudi Arabia would obtain superior weapons and safety ensures, together with a mutual protection treaty, from the US and a dedication for U.S. cooperation on a civilian nuclear program within the kingdom.

For its half, Israel must decide to a concrete pathway to the founding of a Palestinian nation, with particular deadlines, American and Saudi officers say.

On the financial discussion board in Saudi Arabia, Mr. Cameron, the British international minister, mentioned that one thing else should occur for the battle to finish: “The folks accountable for Oct. 7, the Hamas management, must depart Gaza.”

Reporting was contributed by Vivian Nereim, Liam Stack, Euan Ward, Hwaida Saad, Jonathan Rosen and Zolan Kanno-Youngs.

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