Palestinians line up to receive food in Rafah, Gaza Strip, February 23, 2024

Hamas representatives arrived in Cairo, Egypt, on Sunday to take part in negotiations on a possible truce in the Gaza war. However, at the time of negotiations, Israel chose not to send its delegation, claiming that the Palestinian group refused to share the list of hostages still alive in the besieged territory.

Israeli media reported that Israel withheld its delegation after the Palestinian group refused to provide clear answers, especially regarding the list of captives. “There is no Israeli delegation in Cairo. Hamas refuses to provide clear answers and therefore there is no reason to send the Israeli delegation,” Israeli media outlet Ynet said, citing unnamed officials.

A senior Hamas official told Aljazira that his delegation was in Cairo to meet with representatives from Egypt and Qatar, presenting the movement’s vision. However, the presence or absence of an Israeli delegation is not a concern for the group.

The negotiations take place amid a discussed truce proposal, which includes a six-week ceasefire and the release of captives considered vulnerable by the Palestinian group, such as the sick, injured, elderly and women. A US official indicated that Israel had agreed to this deal structure.

Israel and the Palestinian armed group have made several demands amid growing pressure from the US to reach a deal for a truce to come into force before the start of Ramadan, expected around March 10 or 11. The agreement could bring the first prolonged truce in the war, which has lasted since October 7, with just a one-week break in November. But it would not be able to meet Hamas’s main demand for a permanent end to the war.

However, the Palestinian group and Israel still have several demands under discussion. Hamas continues to demand a complete military withdrawal of Israel from the Gaza Strip and the full return of the people of the north. Meanwhile, a truce agreement could also lead to the release of prisoners held by Hamas in exchange for the release of Palestinian detainees by Israel, as well as increasing the delivery of humanitarian aid to the population of Gaza, which faces desperate hunger.

The Israelis say that even if there is a six-week pause, they will continue their military activities. Also on Sunday, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said that under no circumstances will the war end until there is a total defeat of Hamas.

The war in Gaza, which began on October 7, has resulted in a large number of deaths and hostages on both sides, with thousands of civilian casualties and extensive damage to the region’s infrastructure. How negotiations unfold in Cairo could determine the immediate future of the situation in Gaza and influence efforts to achieve lasting peace in the region.


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