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Israeli PM Netanyahu and CIA Director discuss possible ceasefire in Gaza’s Rafah amid hostage negotiations

Israeli PM Netanyahu and CIA Director discuss possible ceasefire in Gaza's Rafah amid hostage negotiations
By Yagiz Efe Parmaksiz
May 8, 2024 8:16 PM

CIA Director Bill Burns and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu talk about suspending military operations in Gaza’s Rafah sector in exchange for the release of Hamas hostages

CIA Director Bill Burns met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday in an effort to broker peace in Israel’s continuing battle with Hamas. The discussions focused on the possibility of suspending military operations in Gaza’s Rafah sector in return for the release of Hamas hostages.

According to an Israeli official, Netanyahu and Burns discussed “the possibility of Israel pausing the operation in Rafah in exchange for hostage release.”

This meeting took place in the middle of Washington’s most recent efforts to establish a truce in the Gaza Strip, as truce discussions resumed in Cairo after Hamas declared its approval of a ceasefire plan from mediators Egypt and Qatar.

Israel’s entry into eastern Rafah came after Hamas accepted a truce plan that Israel considered “very far” from prior deals. Overnight Monday and Tuesday, Israeli soldiers took control of the Palestinian side of the Rafah border crossing, a crucial entrance point for supplies into the beleaguered region.

According to reports, discussions aimed at reaching parameters for a truce in the seven-month battle took place in Cairo “with all sides present,” as reported by Egyptian state-linked media. The United States, Israel’s closest friend and primary source of military support, acknowledged that negotiations were underway, with White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre telling reporters, “The talks are ongoing.”

However, Hamas warned that the current discussions were Israel’s “last chance” to free the estimated 128 captives being held in Gaza, 36 of whom are apparently dead, according to Israeli officials. The organization has demanded a permanent ceasefire, while Netanyahu has underlined his determination to dismantle Hamas’ remaining soldiers in Rafah.

The confrontation, which began with Hamas’ attack on Israel in October, has resulted in substantial losses for both sides. According to Israeli authorities, more than 1,170 people were killed, the majority of them were civilians, and over 250 hostages were taken. According to the health ministry of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, Israeli reprisal attacks have resulted in over 34,800 casualties, the majority of whom are women and children.

Source: AFP

Last Updated:  Jun 3, 2024 4:59 PM