Israel-Hamas Ceasefire and Hostage Negotiations in Danger of Collapse

( – The ceasefire talks in Cairo are in danger of falling apart after Israel began a military operation in the southern Gaza city of Rafah. Hamas had tentatively accepted the ceasefire agreement but Israel noted key aspects of the deal were missing and as such they weren’t likely to agree.

CIA Director Bill Burns was in Cairo as of May 3rd to facilitate the talks and bring the conflict to a conclusion as soon as possible. The war continues to hurt Biden’s polling and fractionate the Democratic base. By May 6 Israeli negotiators speaking with the press said Hamas’ acceptance proposal was “far from” the deal they were prepared to accept.

Hamas has told Qatari and Egyptian officials that it has accepted the ceasefire and hostage deal. Israel responded saying that the terms weren’t exactly as they offered and were committed to attacking Rafah regardless, calling the attack “military pressure on Hamas.”

Israel began “targeted strikes” in Rafah Monday evening shortly after ordering all civilians to “evacuate immediately.” Over 1 million refugees are living in the city after being herded to the south of the territory by the Israeli military over previous military operations.

White House Press Secretary condemned the attack on Rafah in comments given to reporters.

Officials within the U.S. and Israeli administrations claimed that the ceasefire proposal accepted by Hamas was a framework that diverged from the offer Israel had put together with Egypt. A major difference is that the response asks for a permanent end to the armed conflict which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has resisted.

The current proposal would see an end to the conflict with complete Israeli withdrawal from the territories. It also asks to lift the Israeli blockade and for reconstruction to begin on key infrastructure.

Kirby sounded hopeful in comments given to reporters highlighting the presence of CIA Director Burns on the ground and a commitment to achieve a resolution to the conflict in the near term.

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