Monday, February 26, 2024

Egypt floats formidable plan to finish Israel-Hamas struggle

The proposal, labored out with the Gulf nation of Qatar, has been introduced to Israel, Hamas, america and European governments however nonetheless appeared preliminary.

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CAIRO — Egypt has put ahead an formidable, preliminary proposal to finish the Israel-Hamas struggle with a cease-fire, a phased hostage launch and the creation of a Palestinian authorities of specialists who would administer the Gaza Strip and occupied West Financial institution, a senior Egyptian official and a European diplomat mentioned Monday.

Phrase of the proposal got here as Israeli airstrikes closely pounded central and southern Gaza, crushing buildings on households sheltering inside. Within the Maghazi refugee camp, rescue staff pulled dozens extra our bodies from the wreckage hours after a strike levelled a three-story constructing and shattered others close by.

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Not less than 106 individuals have been killed, in keeping with hospital information seen by The Related Press, making it one of many deadliest strikes of Israel’s air marketing campaign.

The Egyptian proposal, labored out with the Gulf nation of Qatar, has been introduced to Israel, Hamas, america and European governments however nonetheless appeared preliminary. It falls in need of Israel’s professed aim of outright crushing Hamas and would seem to not meet Israel’s insistence on preserving army management over Gaza for an prolonged interval after the struggle.

Israel’s Struggle Cupboard, together with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, will meet later Monday talk about the hostage state of affairs, amongst different subjects, an Israeli official mentioned, however wouldn’t say if they might talk about the Egyptian proposal. The official spoke on situation of anonymity as a result of they weren’t licensed to speak to the media.

Forward of the assembly, Netanyahu vowed, “We’re not stopping. … We’re increasing the struggle within the coming days and this might be an extended battle and it isn’t near completed.”

The struggle has devastated giant elements of Gaza, killed greater than 20,400 Palestinians and displaced nearly all the territory’s 2.3 million individuals. U.N. officers warning {that a} quarter of the inhabitants are ravenous below Israel’s siege of the territory, which permits solely a trickle of provides in.

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The mounting loss of life toll amongst Israeli troops — 17 since Friday and 156 because the floor offensive started — may erode public assist for the struggle, which was sparked when Hamas-led militants stormed communities in southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,200 and taking 240 hostage.

Israelis nonetheless largely stand behind the nation’s acknowledged objectives of crushing Hamas’ governing and army capabilities and releasing the remaining 129 captives. That’s regardless of rising worldwide strain in opposition to Israel’s offensive, and the hovering loss of life toll and unprecedented struggling amongst Palestinians.

EGYPTIAN PROPOSAL

The Egyptian proposal was an formidable bid not solely to finish the struggle but in addition to put out a plan for the day after.

It requires an preliminary cease-fire of as much as two weeks throughout which Palestinian militants would free 40 to 50 hostages, amongst them ladies, the sick and the aged, in return for the discharge of 120-150 Palestinians from Israeli prisons, the Egyptian official mentioned. He spoke on situation of anonymity to debate the continuing talks.

On the identical time, negotiations would proceed on extending the cease-fire and the discharge of extra hostages and our bodies held by Palestinian militants, he mentioned.

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Egypt and Qatar would additionally work with all Palestinian factions, together with Hamas, to agree on the institution of a authorities of specialists, he mentioned. The federal government would rule Gaza and the West Financial institution for a transitional interval as Palestinian factions settle their disputes and agree on a roadmap to carry presidential and parliamentary elections, he added.

Within the meantime, Israel and Hamas would proceed to barter a complete “all-for-all” deal, he mentioned. This would come with the discharge of all remaining hostages in return for all Palestinian prisoners in Israel, in addition to the Israeli army’s withdrawal from Gaza and the Palestinian militants’ halting of rocket assaults into Israel. Shut to eight,000 Palestinians are held by Israel on security-related costs or convictions, in keeping with Palestinian figures.

Egyptian officers mentioned the define of the proposal with Ismail Haniyeh, the Qatar-based political chief of Hamas, who visited Cairo final week. They plan to debate it with the chief of the Islamic Jihad group, Ziyad al-Nakhalah, who arrived in Cairo on Sunday, the official mentioned. The militant group, which additionally took half within the Oct. 7 assault, mentioned it was ready to contemplate releasing hostages solely after combating ends.

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A Western diplomat mentioned they’re conscious of Egypt’s proposal. However the diplomat, who demanded anonymity to debate the matter, doubts that Netanyahu and his hawkish authorities would settle for the complete proposal. The diplomat gave no additional particulars.

INSIDE GAZA

Israel’s offensive has been one of the devastating army campaigns in current historical past. Greater than two-thirds of the greater than 20,400 Palestinians killed have been ladies and kids, in keeping with the Well being Ministry in Gaza, which doesn’t differentiate between civilians and combatants among the many useless.

After Sunday night time’s strike within the Maghazi camp, first responders and residents searched by way of the ruble, many with their naked arms or easy instruments. The useless continued to circulate into Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in close by Deir al-Balah, the place males prayed over a number of dozen our bodies laid out on the bottom. Sobbing relations peeled open physique baggage to get a final look or kiss the face of a cherished one. One man wept as he hugged a physique wrapped in bloody plastic sheeting, the scale of a small little one.

One other man knelt over the physique of a relative, screaming, “I swear to God, he was a person. I swear to God, he was higher than the entire of Hamas.”

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The devastation of the struggle over the previous weeks has introduced sporadic eruptions of anger in opposition to Hamas, one thing that may have beforehand been unthinkable through the group’s 16-year rule over Gaza.

Other than the Maghazi deaths, the our bodies of one other 80 individuals killed in strikes throughout central Gaza have been additionally obtained on the hospital from late Sunday to early Monday, hospital information confirmed.

Since Friday, 17 Israeli troopers have been killed in fight, most in southern and central Gaza — a sign of the heavy combating in and across the southern metropolis of Khan Younis.

“The struggle exacts a really heavy value from us, however we now have no alternative however to proceed combating,” Netanyahu mentioned Sunday.

There was widespread anger in opposition to his authorities, which many criticize for failing to guard civilians on Oct. 7 and selling insurance policies that allowed Hamas to realize energy over time. Netanyahu has averted accepting accountability for the army and coverage failures.

“Over time, the general public will discover it laborious to disregard the heavy value paid, in addition to the suspicion that the goals that have been loudly heralded are nonetheless removed from being attained, and that Hamas is exhibiting no indicators of capitulating within the close to future,” wrote Amos Harel, army affairs commentator for the Haaretz newspaper.

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In northern Gaza, Palestinians reported heavy Israeli bombardment and gunfire within the city refugee camp of Jabaliya, an space Israel had claimed to regulate. The Israeli army mentioned it had accomplished the dismantling of Hamas’ underground headquarters in northern Gaza.

Israel faces worldwide criticism for the civilian loss of life toll, however it blames Hamas, citing the militants’ use of crowded residential areas and tunnels. Israel says it has killed hundreds of Hamas militants, with out presenting proof.

Israel additionally faces allegations of mistreating Palestinian males and teenage boys detained in houses, shelters, hospitals and elsewhere through the offensive. The army says it had detained tons of of Palestinians, together with greater than 700 who have been transferred to Israel for additional interrogation about suspected ties to militants. It has denied abuse allegations and mentioned these with out hyperlinks to militants are shortly launched.

Talking from a hospital mattress in Rafah after his launch, Khamis al-Burdainy of Gaza Metropolis mentioned Israeli forces detained him after tanks and bulldozers partly destroyed his residence. He mentioned males have been handcuffed and blindfolded.

“We didn’t sleep. We didn’t get meals and water,” he mentioned, crying and masking his face.

Jobain reported from Rafah, Gaza Strip, and Lidman from Tel Aviv, Israel.

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