There is a rush among negotiators involved in trying to mediate the conflict between Israel and Hamas to reach a ceasefire for the entry of humanitarian aid into Gaza and the exchange of hostages. Everyone involved emphasizes that the deadline they are working towards is the start of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month, which this year begins on the night of next Sunday (10).

Ramadan is the most important period in the Islamic religion, occurring each year on a different date, following the lunar calendar. During the period, the faithful are asked to dedicate themselves to reading the Quran and abstain from earthly pleasures, especially during the day.

“It’s a month of effort to reinforce spirituality. You can’t eat or drink water during the day, as a form of sacrifice”, says Mohammed Nadir, coordinator of the Arab Studies Laboratory at the Federal University of ABC (UFABC). “But it is also a time of unity and fraternity, when families come together at sunset to break the fast,” he explains.

“For the people of Gaza, already so massacred, the truce is essential so that they at least have food and drinking water. Currently, mothers are unable to feed their children,” he says.

For Sâmia Teixeira, a journalist of Brazilian and Palestinian nationalities and communications advisor at the bar that has become a Palestinian stronghold in São Paulo, Al Janiah, the date is more symbolic for Muslims than Christmas is for Christians.

“I would say that it is more important, they experience it at a much more engaged level than Christians at Christmas, and much more in community than they, who usually celebrate with their family. Muslims celebrate Ramadan in community. and without forgetting that they already had Christmas violated. Christian Palestinians [cerca de 6%] were in the spotlight last Christmas too”, she recalls.


There are disagreements about how advanced the negotiations in Egypt’s capital, Cairo, would be, which are taking place even without the presence of Israeli negotiators. On the one hand, US sources say that Israel has “more or less” agreed to the terms agreed so far. But on the Palestinian side, Hamas representative Basem Naim said that “Netanyahu doesn’t want a deal. The ball is now in the Americans’ court.”

The proposal on the table provides for a six-week truce for the entry of humanitarian aid. The UN states that almost all of Gaza’s more than two million inhabitants are hungry and do not have drinking water or medicine – in a context in which there are thousands of injured people and hospitals have been bombed by Israeli artillery. Many serious surgeries, such as amputations, are done without anesthesia.

One of the points that would be holding up the agreement is the fact that Hamas does not present an updated list of Israeli hostages in its possession. During the attacks on October 7, 2023, the group captured more than 200 people, taking them to Gaza.

Analysts estimate that representatives of the group abroad may have difficulties communicating with members inside Gaza. Another possibility is that the hostages were handed over to other militant groups in the Palestinian territory, such as Islamic Jihad, more radical than Hamas.


Pressured by the US to accept the truce, Israel preferred to once again accuse the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) of involvement in the October attacks. Last Monday (4) Israel caused the agency to employ “more than 450 terrorists”.

Phillipe Lazzarini, director of UNRWA, claims that Israel has not presented any evidence against its former employees. The agency said on Monday that some of its workers were “forced to confess under torture and ill-treatment” by Israeli authorities when interrogated.

The UN opened an investigation into the matter. Hamas attacks killed more than a thousand Israelis and generated a large-scale response from Israel. The massacre that has been taking place since then has killed more than 32,000 Palestinians, the majority of them women and children, in an operation that many classify as “genocide”.

Regarding Ramadan, negotiations continue in Cairo shrouded in secrecy and will probably never be disclosed. Whatever the outcome, there is not much reason for optimism.

“After violating so many fundamental rights, shooting at hungry people, destroying mosques, cases that shock the world, why would they care about Ramadan?”, asks Sâmia Teixeira.

“I believe that after killing so many women and children, continuing the massacre during Ramadan is a way of reaffirming the massacre, on the part of Israel, the United States and everyone involved in this genocide.”

Editing: Thalita Pires


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