Gaza Ceasefire Talks Extended as Ramadan Deadline Approaches

Hamas negotiators are staying in Cairo for a third day of ceasefire talks as the deadline to halt the fighting approaches.


Sticking to Demands in Ceasefire Talks

Hamas negotiators have extended their stay in Cairo for a third day of ceasefire talks. The talks have yielded no breakthroughs so far, but there is still hope for a deal as the deadline to halt the fighting approaches. The negotiations are crucial to reaching a 40-day ceasefire in time for the start of Ramadan next week.

The ceasefire would not only allow hostages captured by Palestinian militants to go free, but also ensure increased aid to Gaza and the return of families to their abandoned homes. Both sides still want a deal, but they are sticking to their demands that have held up an agreement thus far. Egyptian sources report that the talks are ongoing.

Israel's Response Awaited

Hamas has presented its proposal for a ceasefire agreement to the mediators, but the Israeli delegation has stayed away from this round of talks. Senior Hamas official, Bassem Naim, stated that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu does not want to reach an agreement and that the ball is now in the Americans' court to press him for a deal. Israel has declined to comment publicly, but a senior Israeli official denied holding up a deal and stated that Israel is awaiting a response from Hamas.

There were reports that Israel stayed away from the talks because Hamas rejected their demand for a list of all hostages still alive. However, Naim argued that it is impossible to provide the list without a ceasefire first, as the hostages are scattered across the war zone and held by separate groups. The United States, a sponsor of the ceasefire talks, has said that an Israeli-approved deal is already on the table and it is up to Hamas to accept it.

Hunger Crisis in Gaza

A hunger crisis is looming over the Gaza Strip as aid supplies have dwindled to barely a trickle. Whole areas in Gaza are cut off from food, and Gaza's hospitals are overwhelmed by children starving to death. The situation is worst in the north of Gaza, which is beyond the reach of aid agencies or news cameras. Gaza health authorities report that 15 children have died of malnutrition or dehydration at one hospital.

To address the crisis, the U.S. military, in coordination with Jordan, has airdropped more than 36,000 meals into northern Gaza. However, aid agencies argue that this is not enough compared to the scale of hunger. Israel has stated that it is prepared to let in more aid through the checkpoints on the southern edge of Gaza, but aid agencies claim that the breakdown of civil administration and law and order makes it impossible to distribute the aid effectively. The responsibility for providing access and security for food distribution falls on Israel, who has troops in Gaza's towns.