War in the Gaza Strip: Israel has agreed not to carry out operations during Ramadan, assures Joe Biden

War in the Gaza Strip: Israel has agreed not to carry out operations during Ramadan, assures Joe Biden

Israel is still considering an assault on the city of Rafah where hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have taken refuge. XinHua – Khaled Omar

The effort of the mediator countries, Qatar, Egypt and the United States, which are trying to negotiate a compromise with Israel and Hamas with a view to a truce, could bear fruit according to the American president. But there is still a long way to go.

US President Joe Biden said on Monday that Israel had agreed not to carry out any military activity in the Gaza Strip during Ramadan, despite the recent Israeli ultimatum, adding that the Jewish state risks losing the support from the international community as Palestinians die in large numbers in the enclave. Ramadan is scheduled to begin on March 10 and end on April 9. Speaking in an interview on the talk show "Late Night with Seth Meyers" from NBC recorded Monday evening, Joe Biden indicated that Israeli officials promised him that they would allow significant portions of Rafah to be evacuated ; before leading an assault to "suppress the rest of Hamas".

"Too many people are being killed"

"Ramadan is approaching, and there is an agreement with the Israelis not to carry out activities during Ramadan , to allow us time to free all the hostages", said the American president. "Too many innocent people are being killed", he declared elsewhere, while the latest report from the Palestinian health authorities shows of nearly 30,000 deaths in Gaza since the start of the war. "Israel has the overwhelming support of the vast majority of nations. If he continues like this (…) he will lose his support around the world. And it's not in Israel's interest. Washington, Israel's main ally, urged it to quickly accept a truce and refrain from carrying out an assault on the town of Rafah, at the southern tip of the Gaza Strip, the border with Egypt, where more than half of the enclave's 2.3 million inhabitants have found refuge.

An assault on Rafah

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated that the IDF still planned to carry out an assault on Rafah and that measures were planned to evacuate Palestinian civilians. Joe Biden's comments came as Israel and Hamas appeared close to an agreement on Monday in Qatar-led talks on stopping the fighting and releasing hostages. The simultaneous presence in Doha of representatives of Israel and Hamas for so-called proximity talks – indirect discussions via mediators – suggests that an agreement between the two camps is closer than ever. Since the Jewish state rejected a Hamas proposal for a four-month truce in early February, diplomatic efforts have intensified, alongside increased Israeli military operations in the south of the Gaza Strip. .

An agreement "by the end of the weekend"

Asked, before his interview on NBC, about the potential timetable for a ceasefire in the Palestinian enclave, Joe Biden replied that he would ;#39;hoped for "by the start or end of the weekend". "My National Security Advisor tells me we are close (to an agreement).It's not done yet. My hope is that we have a ceasefire by next Monday", the US president told reporters.

Israel and Hamas continue publicly to display very different positions on the contours of a truce, while blaming each other for the failure of the negotiations. After meeting with Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani, the head of Hamas' Doha-based political bureau praised mediators' efforts to end the war while accusing Israel of gaining time while Gaza is under siege. "We will not allow the enemy to use the negotiations as a cover for its crime", declared Ismaïl Haniyeh. Benjamin Netanyahu said he was ready for an agreement but that Hamas needed to stop making demands according to him "coming from&# 39;another planet. "Obviously we want this deal if we can. It depends on Hamas. It's really up to them", he told the American channel Fox News in an interview. "They need to come back to reality", he added.

Qatari efforts

According to the services of Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani, the discussions between the Emir of Qatar and the leader of Hamas focused on Qatari efforts to define &amp ;quot;an immediate and permanent ceasefire agreement in the Gaza Strip.Earlier, a source told Reuters that Israeli officials visited Qatar today to work on the terms of a truce in the Gaza Strip and a deal to release the hostages . The Israeli delegation, made up of representatives of the army and the secret services (Mossad), is responsible for creating an operational center for the negotiations, the source said. Its mission consists in particular of studying the profile of Palestinian detainees whose release Hamas demands in exchange for the hostages.

Israel wants to "eradicate Hamas"

Israel continues to publicly assert that it will not stop its offensive in Gaza until it has eradicated Hamas in retaliation for the attack of October 7. For its part, Hamas says it will not release the hundred or so hostages it still holds if Israel does not promise to withdraw from Gaza and end the war. However, diplomatic negotiations seem to have advanced greatly since last Friday and a meeting organized in Paris between Israeli, American, Egyptian and Qatari representatives – no Hamas representative, however, took part. Egyptian security sources said that the "proximity" between the delegations of Israel and Hamas would be held this week, first in Qatar then in Cairo.

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