Israel vows military operation as ceasefire talks end

May 6, 2024 by AAP
Read on for article

The latest round of Gaza ceasefire talks have ended in Cairo after “in-depth and serious discussions”, Hamas says.

Israeli soldiers in the Gaza Strip on March 31, 2024. Photo by the IDF Spokesperson

The terrorist group reiterated key demands that Israel again rejected. After earlier signs of progress, the outlook appeared to dim as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to resist international pressure to halt the war.

Defence Minister Yoav Gallant claimed Hamas wasn’t serious about a deal and warned of “a powerful operation in the very near future in Rafah and other places across all of Gaza” after Hamas attacked Israel’s main crossing point for delivering badly needed humanitarian aid, killing three soldiers.

Israel’s military said it believed Hamas was targeting soldiers massed on the Gaza border in preparation for a possible Rafah invasion. Hamas said it targeted soldiers in the area.

But Israeli media reported that CIA chief William Burns, a main mediator in the talks, would meet with Netanyahu on Monday.

Israel didn’t send a delegation to the latest talks. Egyptian state media reported that the Hamas delegation went for discussions in Qatar, where the group has a political office, and will return to Cairo for further negotiations on Tuesday.

Another threat to talks came as Israel ordered the local offices of Qatar’s Al Jazeera satellite news network to close, accusing it of broadcasting anti-Israel incitement. The ban did not appear to affect the channel’s operations in Gaza or the West Bank.

Netanyahu, under pressure from hardliners in his government, continued to lower expectations for a ceasefire deal, calling the key Hamas demands “extreme”.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in a statement earlier said the militant group was serious and positive about the negotiations and that stopping Israeli aggression in Gaza is the main priority.

But Israel’s government again vowed to press on with a military operation in Rafah, the southernmost Gaza city on the border with Egypt where more than half of Gaza’s 2.3 million residents now seek shelter from Israeli attacks. Rafah is a key entry point for aid.

The closing of Kerem Shalom came shortly after the head of the UN World Food Program asserted “full-blown famine” in devastated northern Gaza, one of the most prominent warnings yet of the toll of restrictions on aid entering the territory. It was not a formal famine declaration.

In a fiery speech for Israel’s annual Holocaust memorial day, Netanyahu said: “I say to the leaders of the world, no amount of pressure, no decision by any international forum will stop Israel from defending itself.”

The Hamas cross-border attack on October 7 killed some 1200 people and took 250 others hostage. Israel says militants still hold around 100 hostages and the remains of more than 30 others. Netanyahu is under pressure from some hostages’ families to make a deal to end the war and get hostages freed.

Israel blames Hamas for civilian deaths, accusing it of embedding in residential and public areas. The Israeli military says it has killed 13,000 terrorists, without providing evidence to back up the claim.

AAP

Speak Your Mind

Comments received without a full name will not be considered
Email addresses are NEVER published! All comments are moderated. J-Wire will publish considered comments by people who provide a real name and email address. Comments that are abusive, rude, defamatory or which contain offensive language will not be published

Got something to say about this?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.