Intensifying Conflict: Israel and Hamas Struggle to Agree on Ceasefire

World The chance for a truce between Israel and Hamas seems slim despite a US-backed peace plan. The conflict continues to devastate Gaza, with thousands of casualties and displacement, while mediators push for a ceasefire.

Intensifying Conflict Between Israel and Hamas Amid Truce Negotiations

The likelihood of achieving a truce between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas in Gaza remains doubtful three days after US President Joe Biden presented a plan to end the almost eight-month-long war. On Friday, President Biden revealed a three-phase Israeli plan to end the conflict, secure the release of all hostages, and reconstruct the devastated Palestinian territory, emphasizing the exclusion of Hamas from power.

However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office reiterated Israel’s commitment to continue its offensive until all objectives, including the destruction of Hamas's military and government capabilities, are met. Israeli media have questioned the level of coordination between Biden's plan and Netanyahu's team, pointing to uncertainties about the duration of the truce and the number of hostages to be released.

Mediators, including Qatar, the United States, and Egypt, encouraged both Hamas and Israel to finalize the agreement aligned with the principles set out by President Joe Biden. Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, congratulated Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on the plan in a phone call, emphasizing it was Hamas’s responsibility to accept the agreement.

The conflict continues to ravage Gaza, displacing the majority of its 2.4 million residents and prompting warnings from humanitarian organizations about impending famine. The war, which erupted on October 7 following an attack by Hamas militants, has resulted in thousands of casualties and widespread destruction.

In retaliation to the initial Hamas attack, Israel vowed to obliterate Hamas and launched an intensive air and ground offensive. According to Gaza's Health Ministry, the offensive has so far resulted in over 36,000 deaths among Gazan residents, predominantly civilians. Israeli military forces reported targeting more than 50 locations in Gaza in recent days.

Netanyahu, facing pressure from both international entities and internal factions, has been urged to agree to a truce. However, his far-right allies have threatened to destabilize the government if such actions are taken. The proposed truce plan involves a six-week ceasefire, an exchange of hostages, and subsequent negotiations to establish a lasting peace, though Netanyahu insists the destruction of Hamas remains integral to the plan.

  • Pret a Manger, a globally recognized sandwich and coffee chain, officially canceled plans to open a branch in Israel, citing the current geopolitical tensions. This decision, influenced by the Israeli conflict in Gaza and international boycott campaigns, represents a significant setback for Israel's retail ambitions.
  • The use of tunnel weapons by Palestinian resistance in Gaza has been a significant factor in the conflict. Despite advanced technologies, including muon tomography, deployed by Israeli forces to detect these tunnels, they remain challenging to uncover due to various technical and environmental limitations.
  • The recent discovery of the body of an Israeli individual, Dolev Yehud, previously thought to be a hostage in Gaza, underscores the complex and tragic human cost of the ongoing conflict. Yehud, a member of emergency medical services, was killed during the Hamas attack while attempting to save lives.
  • Ongoing mediation by Qatar, the United States, and Egypt aims to secure a ceasefire and facilitate the release of hostages and detainees. The proposed road map, shared by President Joe Biden, promises a phased approach to ceasefire and reconstruction, aligning with the interests of multiple stakeholders.
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