Israel and Hamas at war, day 212 | Discussions on a truce in danger

Israel and the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas displayed their deep disagreement on Sunday with a view to a truce in the war in Gaza, jeopardizing discussions in Cairo with international mediators.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reaffirmed that Israel “will not capitulate” and “cannot accept” Hamas’ demands to stop the war in Gaza, sparked by a bloody Hamas attack on October 7 against Israeli territory.

At the same time, he announced his government’s “unanimous” decision to close Al-Jazeera in Israel, a channel from Qatar, one of the mediating countries in the conflict. His government ordered the seizure of satellite television equipment.

In response, Hamas leader Ismaïl Haniyeh, based in Qatar, accused Mr. Netanyahu of “sabotaging the efforts of mediators” for a truce in the Palestinian territory besieged by Israel and devastated by seven months of Israeli bombing.

In retaliation for the unprecedented attack by Hamas on October 7, the Israeli army launched a major offensive – air then land – in the Palestinian territory, killing so far 34,683 people, mainly civilians according to Hamas, and causing a humanitarian catastrophe and colossal destruction.

Israeli military operations show no respite, leaving 29 dead in the last 24 hours, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health.


In Rafah

The director of the World Food Program (WFP), Cindy McCain, was alarmed to see the north of the Gaza Strip hit by a “real famine”, which was progressing towards the south.

“Terrible defeat”

The offer from the mediators – Qatar, Egypt, United States – presented to Hamas at the end of April provides for a temporary truce associated with the release of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for that of hostages kidnapped during the October 7 attack.

A few hours before the resumption of negotiations in Cairo on Sunday between a Hamas delegation and Qatari and Egyptian representatives after a first round the day before, a Hamas official affirmed that his movement would accept “under no circumstances an agreement that does not explicitly provide a stop to the war.”

“Netanyahu is personally putting the brakes on an agreement” on a truce, he said, after Hamas accused the Israeli prime minister of obstructing it with his public threats over an assault in Rafah, a town in southern Gaza.

“When Israel shows its good will, Hamas persists in its extreme positions, led by its demand for the withdrawal of our forces from the Gaza Strip, the end of the war and the preservation of Hamas. Israel cannot accept this,” Netanyahu said in a cabinet meeting.

“Capitulating” to Hamas’s demands would be a “terrible defeat” for Israel, he said.

Israel is not present in Cairo. And an Israeli official said that a delegation would go there if progress was made.

The head of the CIA, William Burns, is there, American media reported.

“History will not forgive you”

Israel, which considers Hamas a terrorist organization along with the United States and the European Union, has vowed to wipe out the Islamist movement.


Israeli soldiers patrol the Erez crossing.

On October 7, Hamas commandos infiltrated from Gaza in southern Israel launched an attack which resulted in the death of more than 1,170 people, mainly civilians, according to an AFP report based on official Israeli data. .

During the attack, more than 250 people were kidnapped and 128 remain captive in Gaza, including 35 who died, according to the army.

In a statement on Sunday, the Forum of Hostage Families called on Mr. Netanyahu “to ignore political pressure” and accept an agreement that would allow the release of the hostages. “Mr Netanyahu, history will not forgive you if you miss this opportunity. »

Closure of an aid passage

While efforts towards a truce are increasing, Benjamin Netanyahu continues to proclaim his intention to lead a ground offensive on Rafah, which according to him constitutes the last major Hamas stronghold in Gaza.


In Rafah, 1.2 million Palestinians, most displaced by the war, are crowded together.

The United States, Israel’s main ally, is hostile to an assault on this city where there are 1.2 million Palestinians, most of them displaced by the war.

“The damage it would cause would be beyond what is acceptable,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned.

Located on Egypt’s closed border, Rafah is the main land crossing point for humanitarian aid. An offensive would be a “hard blow” to humanitarian operations, the UN warned.

This aid, strictly controlled by Israel, remains very insufficient to meet the needs of some 2.4 million Gazans.

On Sunday, the Israeli army announced that it had closed the Kerem Shalom crossing point, targeted by rocket fire. Aid trucks are inspected there by Israel before entering the Gaza Strip.

Rockets on Israel

In the Gaza Strip, the Israeli army again bombarded the eponymous town (north), as well as the center and south of the territory, notably in Khan Younes and Rafah.


Palestinian Christians attend an Orthodox Easter mass in Gaza City.

The army claimed to have killed several Hamas fighters across the Gaza Strip.

On Israel’s northern front, on the border with Lebanon, Lebanese Hezbollah announced that it had fired “dozens of rockets” towards Israeli territory after the death, according to the official Lebanese agency, of “four civilian members of a same family in Israeli raid” in southern Lebanon.


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