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Feb 14, 2024, 10:34am EST
securityMiddle East
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Semafor Signals

Gaza truce talks hit impasse as Israel prepares Rafah ground assault

Insights from The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times

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Palestinian children inspect the site of an Israeli strike on a house, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, February 12, 2024. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa
REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa
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The News

Truce negotiations in the Israel-Hamas war appear to have stalled again, as Israeli officials returned from Egypt with no progress on a deal that would pause hostilities and free the remaining hostages held by the militant group.

Delegates met in Cairo, where truce negotiations were moderated by U.S. Central Intelligence Agency director William Burns, Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, and several Egyptian officials. . Hamas representatives were not part of the talks, and Israeli officials returned Tuesday without presenting a new offer, The Times of Israel reported. Negotiations are set to continue for three more days.

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The breakdown in talks comes as Israel announced a series of strikes on Lebanon, with which it has exchanged fire since Hamas’ attack on Oct. 7, and as the Israeli military prepares for a ground offensive in the tightly-packed city of Rafah filled with more than a million Palestinians.

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SIGNALS

Semafor Signals: Global insights on today's biggest stories.

Significant parts of truce agreement still need to be ironed out

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Source:  
The Wall Street Journal

Negotiators cannot agree on major points of the truce deal: Israeli officials left Cairo without agreeing to the duration of a possible ceasefire, or the number of Palestinian prisoners to be released in exchange for the remaining hostages held by Hamas, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

Israeli officials told delegates at the meeting that if Hamas did not accept Israel’s terms, its forces would carry out an offensive in Rafah, a city in the Gaza Strip where 1.5 million Palestinians are seeking refuge after fleeing Israel’s bombardment in the north. According to Gazan health authorities, more than 28,000 Palestinians, most of them women and children, have been killed in the conflict, while residents of the enclave have been pushed into an ever-shrinking area.

End of Gaza war could be the last opportunity for a two-state solution

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Source:  
The New York Times

The shift in support for an independent Palestinian state is one of the “most unexpected developments in the Israel-Hamas war,” New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman wrote.

Governments around the world who previously opposed such a plan have now voiced their support, with the U.S. among the key backers. Israel has long argued against a Palestinian state, but “to continue ignoring the subject now would be a grave error,” Friedman argued, adding that Israel would be globally reviled if it decided to permanently occupy the West Bank and Gaza after the war. “Once the guns fall silent in Gaza, we may be looking at the best opportunity for a two-state solution” since the fall of the Oslo Accords — a series of negotiations aimed at Palestinian independence — Friedman wrote. “It also might be the last.”

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