Negotiations for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip made “significant progress”, despite the absence of the Israeli delegation, according to the TV Al-Qahera News, linked to Egypt’s intelligence services. After weeks of diplomatic efforts, Egypt, Qatar and the United States have sought to secure a proposed six-week truce in the war between Israel and Hamas before the start of Ramadan next week. Started on Sunday, negotiations for an agreement continued in Cairo this Monday (4).

“Egypt continues its intense efforts to reach a truce before Ramadan”, the Muslim fasting month that begins on March 10 or 11. “There has been significant progress in negotiations”, points out the report, which anonymously cites an official from high-ranking people in Egypt.

US Vice President Kamala Harris appealed on Sunday for both sides to accept a proposed six-week ceasefire in the face of the “immense scale of suffering” in Gaza, the target of incessant Israeli bombing and on the verge of of hunger.

“Given the immense scale of suffering in Gaza, there must be an immediate ceasefire for at least the next six weeks, which is what is currently on the table,” said Kamala Harris. This was the first time that a senior official from the United States, Israel’s main ally, openly called for a pause in hostilities.

Harris also called on Israel, which controls the entry of humanitarian aid into Gaza, to “significantly increase the flow of aid to a population in urgent need of food, water and other assistance.” “Israel should not impose restrictions on sending aid. There are no excuses!”, added Joe Biden’s vice president.

According to the Hamas Ministry of Health, more than 120 people, most of them civilians, died in Israeli bombings over the last 24 hours against various sectors of Gaza, which brings the total number of fatalities in almost five months of conflict to 30,534.

To accept an agreement, Hamas demands the return of displaced people to northern Gaza, increased humanitarian aid, a definitive ceasefire and the withdrawal of the Israeli military. Israel, which is not participating in the Cairo negotiations, rejects the conditions and says it will continue military operations until it “annihilates” Hamas. It also demands that the Palestinian movement hand over a list of hostages remaining in captivity in Gaza.

A Hamas spokesman said on Monday (4) that the Palestinian group continues in talks on how to guarantee a truce in Gaza, despite Israel’s decision not to participate in the negotiations. “Negotiations in Cairo continue for the second day, regardless of the presence of the occupation delegation in Egypt,” he told the news agency Reuters.

The attempt at negotiation comes just days after the massacre of a group of Palestinians who were waiting for the arrival of humanitarian aid trucks in Gaza. On Thursday (29), Israeli soldiers shot Palestinians who were queuing to access food. The action resulted in 112 deaths and 750 injuries.

“Those starving for three months went to look for food and were murdered by the Zionist forces of Israel. It was the height of absurdity. We came here to say that this was the last straw in this genocide that is happening in Gaza and that the world has to take urgent and rapid action to put an end to this”, said Mohamad El-Kadri, president of the Palestine Latin Forum, during a protest against the military offensives of the State of Israel.

*With AFP and Al Jazeera

Editing: Rodrigo Durão Coelho


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