Israel and Hamas at war, day 207 | Blinken urges Hamas to accept truce proposal “without further delay”

(Jerusalem) The head of American diplomacy, Antony Blinken, on Tuesday urged Palestinian Hamas to accept “without further delay” the new truce proposal with Israel, where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has once again promised a ground offensive in Rafah “with or without” truce.

Before arriving in Israel, Antony Blinken announced in Jordan the planned departure on Tuesday of a first Jordanian aid convoy towards the Gaza Strip via the Erez crossing point, recently opened by Israel following American pressure.

After Saudi Arabia and Jordan, the American Secretary of State arrived in Israel in the evening, as part of his seventh mission to the Middle East to try to secure a truce between Israel and Palestinian Hamas, at war. since October 7 in the Gaza Strip.

“We want to see this (truce) agreement come to fruition in the coming days,” he said in Jordan.

The mediating countries (Egypt, Qatar, United States) are awaiting a response from the Palestinian Islamist movement to a proposal for a 40-day truce, associated with the release of hostages held in Gaza since the start of the war in exchange for detained Palestinian prisoners. by Israel. A proposal that Mr. Blinken described on Monday as “extraordinarily generous on the part of Israel”.


Before arriving in Israel, Antony Blinken announced in Jordan the planned departure on Tuesday of a first Jordanian aid convoy towards the Gaza Strip via the Erez crossing point.

Mr. Blinken urged Hamas to accept the proposal “without further delay.” “No more delays, no more excuses. The time to act is now,” he insisted.

“We’re going to go in.”

But in parallel with these hopes of a truce, Israel affirms to maintain its plan for a ground offensive on the town of Rafah, on the border with Egypt, considered by Israel as the last bastion of Hamas, in power in Gaza since 2007.

“The idea of ​​stopping the war before having achieved all our objectives is out of the question. We will enter Rafah and eliminate the Hamas battalions there, with or without (a truce) agreement, in order to achieve total victory,” Mr. Netanyahu told relatives of hostages in Jerusalem on Tuesday.

Many capitals, starting with Washington, and humanitarian organizations fear massive civilian losses in the event of an offensive on this city which has become a refuge for a million and a half Palestinians.

Such an offensive would represent an “intolerable escalation,” UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned on Tuesday.

The prime minister’s statements on Rafah “are probably more an attempt to maintain his coalition than short-term operational plans,” says Calev Ben-Dor, a former analyst at the Israeli Foreign Ministry.


Israel says it is maintaining its plan for a ground offensive on the town of Rafah, bordering Egypt, where, according to Israel, Hamas has grouped four battalions.

Reacting to reports of a possible arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague against him, Mr Netanyahu said later on Tuesday: “no decision, whether in The Hague or elsewhere, will undermine our determination.”

According to New York Times which cites Israeli officials, Mr. Netanyahu could be among those indicted by the ICC. The American newspaper also reported that the ICC was considering indicting Hamas leaders.

“As quickly as possible”

After a meeting Monday in Cairo with representatives of Egypt and Qatar, a Hamas delegation returned to Doha to study the new truce proposal and should give its response “as quickly as possible”, according to a close source movement.

This proposal follows months of deadlock in indirect negotiations. A one-week truce allowed the release of 105 hostages at the end of November, including 80 Israelis and dual nationals exchanged for 240 Palestinians detained by Israel.

On Tuesday, airstrikes targeted Rafah as well as the neighboring town of Khan Younes and that of Gaza, in the north of the Palestinian territory, according to an AFP correspondent.

According to the Hamas Ministry of Health, at least 47 people were killed in 24 hours across the Gaza Strip.

The war broke out on October 7 when Hamas commandos infiltrated from Gaza carried out an unprecedented attack in southern Israel, resulting in the death of 1,170 people, mainly civilians, according to an AFP report based on data Israeli officials.

More than 250 people have been kidnapped and 129 remain captive in Gaza, 34 of whom have died according to Israeli officials.

In retaliation, Israel has vowed to annihilate Hamas, which it considers a terrorist organization, along with the United States and the European Union.

Its army launched an offensive that has so far killed 34,535 people, mostly civilians, according to Hamas’s health ministry, devastated the small territory and caused a massive population displacement.

Hamas is particularly demanding a permanent ceasefire before any agreement on the release of the hostages, which Israel has always refused.

Its demands also relate to “an (Israeli) withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, the return of the displaced, a clear timetable for the start of reconstruction and an exchange agreement that removes all injustice towards Palestinian detainees, men and women” , according to one of the negotiators, Zaher Jabareen.

“Still a lot to do”

After the cold of winter, displaced families in Rafah are now suffering rising heat, without running water, threatened by spreading disease and starvation.

International aid, strictly controlled by the Israeli authorities, arrives in trickles mainly from Egypt via Rafah, but remains very insufficient given the immense needs of the 2.4 million Gazans.

The United States is pressuring Israel to make it easier for aid to enter by road and has begun building a floating port facing Gaza’s coastline to accommodate cargo arriving by boat from Cyprus. The structure will be ready on Thursday, according to Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides.

Mr. Blinken welcomed the opening on Tuesday of a “direct” land route between Jordan and the Gaza Strip via the Erez crossing point, between Israel and the north of the Palestinian territory. “This is real and important progress, but there is still much to do,” he said.


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