According to the US government, a possible agreement on the release of hostages and a temporary ceasefire in the Gaza war depends solely on the Islamist Hamas. The framework for such a deal has already been established and the Israelis have “more or less accepted” it, senior US government officials in Washington said. “The Israelis agreed in principle to elements of the agreement. Now the ball is in Hamas’s court.”

US officials stressed that negotiations are still ongoing. Significant progress has been made over the past few weeks. But there is still no agreement. The goal remains to achieve this, if possible, by the start of Ramadan. The festival, which is especially sacred to Muslims, begins around March 10th.

Ceasefire and release of hostages

International mediators in the Gaza war are working hard behind the scenes to secure a temporary ceasefire and the release of hostages. According to US information, a six-week ceasefire and the release of some hostages – sick, wounded, elderly and women – are planned. Cautiously optimistic signals have recently come from the United States and Qatar, which, together with Egypt, are promoting indirect negotiations between Israel and the Islamist Hamas.

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The war in the Gaza Strip was sparked by an unprecedented massacre carried out by terrorists from Hamas and other extremist groups in southern Israel on October 7. More than 1,200 people died on the Israeli side. Israel responded with massive air strikes and a ground offensive in the Gaza Strip. The number of people killed there since the start of the war has risen to more than 30,000, according to the Hamas-controlled health authority.

More than 200 people were forcibly abducted during the attack on Israel. Some of them were subsequently released, but dozens are still in the hands of Hamas. (dpa/best)


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Teaser image: © Mahmoud Essa/AP/dpa