Gaza Cease-Fire Talks Resume In Cairo


A delegation from Hamas was in Cairo on Sunday to discuss a possible weekslong cease-fire in its five-month war in Gaza with Israel, although it was not clear that Israeli negotiators were attending.

The U.S., which has pushed for a six-week halt in the fighting, said a deal is “on the table,” essentially already approved by Israel and now awaiting an okay from the militants. Still, the state of the talks mediated by Egyptian and Qatari officials was uncertain.

An agreement would bring about the first extended pause in the fighting since a weeklong truce in late November. Under proposed terms, dozens of the remaining 100 or so hostages held by Hamas would be freed in exchange for the release of hundreds of Palestinians held by Israel.

A U.S. official told reporters, “The path to a cease-fire right now literally at this hour is straightforward. And there’s a deal on the table. There’s a framework deal.”

Yet, as the Hamas delegation arrived in Cairo, a Palestinian official told Reuters the deal was “not yet there.” There also was no official confirmation that Israel was sending a delegation to the talks.

Israel reportedly is demanding that Hamas give it a full list of hostages who are still alive, a demand that a Palestinian source said Hamas had so far rejected as premature. The deal would also stop short of the Hamas demand for a permanent end to the war.

Israel has vowed to end the threat of another Hamas assault like the October 7 terror attack on the Jewish state that killed 1,200 people. Israel’s counteroffensive since then has killed more than 30,000 people in Gaza, about 70% of them women and children.

Israel has said it plans to attack the town of Rafah on the Egyptian border to root out more militants. More than a million Palestinians have taken refuge from the war in the region, with Israel saying it will move them to an undisclosed location to avoid a new assault by Israeli forces.

If a truce is agreed to, humanitarian aid into Gaza would be sharply increased for famished Palestinians. In one sign of the crisis, the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry said at least 16 children had died of malnutrition in recent days as “famine spreads” in the north.

The U.S. has begun airdrops of aid, but a Hamas official said the group is demanding “the entry of at least 400 to 500 trucks per day” carrying food, medicine and fuel as part of a truce deal.

Gaza health officials said 118 people were killed in Gaza City during an attempted aid delivery Thursday. Hamas attributed the deaths to Israeli attacks, while Israel said most of the victims were trampled as they rushed for the food or were run over by the aid trucks.

U.S. President Joe Biden said last week that a deal could be reached as soon as Monday, but then backed off that timetable. The goal, however, is to halt the fighting for the Ramadan Muslim fasting month, which begins in a week.

Meanwhile, fighting continues, with the Gaza health ministry reporting that at least 90 Palestinians had been killed in the last day, including 14 family members whose house in the southern Rafah refugee camp had been hit.

Harris, Gantz to meet

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris is planning to meet with Israeli war Cabinet member Benny Gantz at the White House Monday, as Washington tries to secure a temporary cease-fire and an increase in humanitarian aid into Gaza.

The talks are expected to focus on Palestinian civilian casualties, securing a temporary cease-fire and the release of hostages held in Gaza as well as increasing aid into the enclave, a White House official said.

“The vice president will express her concern over the safety of as many as 1.5 million people in Rafah,” the official said, adding that Israel has a “right to defend itself in the face of continued Hamas terrorist threats.”

In a statement, Gantz confirmed that he would meet with Harris, as well as White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan and Republican and Democratic members of Congress.

Gantz, a former Israeli military chief and defense minister, is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s main political rival in opinion polls. According to, an independent Israeli news site, a senior official close to Netanyahu reportedly said Saturday that the prime minister does not approve of Gantz’s visit to Washington.


The VOA is the Voice of America

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