As international mediators in the Gaza war continue to push for a ceasefire and the release of hostages, there are differing signals from the United States and Israel about the status of negotiations. US President Joe Biden has expressed optimism that a ceasefire will come as early as next week.

However, Israeli television channels Channel 12 and Kan quoted Israeli officials as saying that the framework for negotiations proposed by mediators Egypt, Qatar and the United States remained incompatible with Hamas’ demands. Hamas, in turn, blamed Israel for the blockade. It remains unclear whether the mediators will be able to agree on an agreement by the start of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan around March 10.

Biden hopes for ceasefire by Monday

Biden But he exuded confidence: “My national security adviser told me we’re close,” he said while eating ice cream in New York in response to a question from the press in attendance. We haven’t reached our goal yet. “I hope that by next Monday we will have a ceasefire,” the US President said. However, Hamas has yet to provide an official response to the negotiation framework recently proposed by Egypt, Qatar and the United States in Paris, the Times of Israel reported.

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The framework Israel will accept initially calls for a ceasefire of about six weeks, according to previous media reports. During this time, 40 hostages held by Hamas will be exchanged for several hundred Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons. The Arabic television channel Al-Jazeera put the number of Palestinian prisoners whom Israel has declared its readiness to release at 400 people.

Reports of a serious rift between Israel and Hamas

The key stumbling block appears to be Israel’s insistence that a temporary ceasefire does not guarantee an end to the war, the Times of Israel writes. But this is exactly what Hamas demands.

“There is no progress at the moment,” Israeli news portal Ynet quoted a government spokesman as saying. “There is a big gap between the parties, and mediators are trying to bridge it. We continue to work to achieve results.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is committed to the military goal of destroying Hamas.

To this end, the military is preparing an attack on the city of Rafah, bordering Egypt, in the south of the blockaded Gaza Strip. Hundreds of thousands of civilians seeking protection there must be taken to safety further north. The military presented the corresponding plans to the military cabinet on Monday. Details about this are not yet known. Israel’s plans in Rafah have drawn serious criticism internationally, including from allies.

UN aid agency: humanitarian supplies halved in February

According to the UN, the amount of aid delivered to the affected population was halved in February compared to the previous month. “Aid should have been increased, not decreased, given the enormous needs of two million Palestinians living in deplorable living conditions,” Philippe Lazzarini, head of the UN Palestine Agency (UNRWA), told Platform X.

On average, only 98 trucks carrying aid supplies reached the closed coastal strip each day this month, according to the UN. Together with Egypt, Israel controls border crossings into the blockaded Gaza Strip.

Israel files report to World Court

Meanwhile, Israel submitted to the seat of the UN court a report requested by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on measures to prevent genocide in the coastal zone. This was reported by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz with reference to political circles. Thus, the country fulfilled the deadline set by the court. The newspaper did not provide any information about the contents of the report.

South Africa has accused Israel of alleged violations of the Genocide Convention during the Gaza War. The UN court ruled in an interim order that Israel must take protective measures to prevent genocide. In addition, it is necessary to increase the volume of humanitarian assistance to the suffering population of the Gaza Strip. The court decides on genocide charges in a lengthy procedure.

Frenzy over reports of Israeli SIM cards being used

Israel strongly denies accusations of genocide. He invokes his right to self-defense following the unprecedented terrorist attack carried out by Hamas and other extremist groups on October 7. The big question to this day is how Israel’s secret service, military and political leadership could have been so surprised. In this context, a media report on Monday about terrorists activating Israeli SIM cards of cell phones shortly before the attack caused a stir.

According to the Times of Israel, the Israeli military was forced to clarify that intelligence had indications that “some” Israeli SIM cards had been activated in the Gaza Strip. But they have also been used before and nothing happened. Reports that 1,000 cards were simultaneously activated shortly before the attack are false.

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Israel kills Hezbollah commander in southern Lebanon

Meanwhile, dangerous tensions remain in Israel’s border region with Lebanon. The Israeli military said a senior officer of the Shiite Hezbollah group was killed in an airstrike in southern Lebanon on Monday. Brigade commander Hussein Salami was targeted because he led rocket attacks on the northern Israeli city of Kiryat Shmona and the local Israeli military command, the report said. Hezbollah confirmed Salami’s death but did not provide any information about his rank.

Since the outbreak of the Gaza War, Israel’s conflict with the Iran-backed Hezbollah group has intensified. Israel has warned several times that it is prepared to use major military force if diplomatic efforts fail.

What will be important on Tuesday

As negotiations for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and an exchange of hostages for prisoners continue, humanitarian organizations in Geneva report the humanitarian situation in the isolated coastal zone. (dpa/ank)

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