Ceasefire Talks Stall After Demands Aren’t Met

After Hamas denied Israel’s demand for a complete list of the hostages who are still alive, Israel withdrew from Sunday’s Gaza ceasefire talks in Cairo. The discussions, touted as a potential last hurdle before an accord that would cease the conflict for six weeks, brought a Hamas delegation to Cairo. But the Israelis had disappeared by early evening.

The United States capital has maintained that a truce is imminent and should be ready to go into effect by the beginning of Ramadan, just one week away.

When asked about the possibility of a ceasefire at this very moment, a US official assured reporters that it was easy to reach an agreement and an agreement is being considered. A framework deal exists. The onus was on Hamas to reply after Israel had accepted the framework. The war has been going strong for five months, with only a week-long break in November; if an agreement is reached, it would be the first prolonged truce of the conflict.

The extremists would release hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the release of dozens of hostages. For the Gazans who are on the brink of starvation, aid will be increased. More than half of Gaza’s 2.3 million people are confined to Rafah by the enclave’s southern border fence with Egypt, and if fighting were to end soon, it would prevent an impending Israeli attack on the territory. Israeli troops would retreat from specific regions, allowing Gazans to go back to their abandoned homes.

More than half of the over a hundred hostages are still unknown, and the plan doesn’t seem to address Hamas’s primary demand for an end to the war. Egyptian mediators have proposed that those matters be temporarily tabled, with promises to address them later. According to an insider, Hamas is demanding a “package deal” even now.

Last week, talks were overshadowed by the deaths of over 100 people and the injury of hundreds more near a food convoy, highlighting the extraordinarily deadly last days building up to the anticipated truce. According to Israel’s preliminary investigation, which was released on Sunday, the majority of casualties were crushed to death in a stampede.