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NY Post
New York Post
24 Feb 2024

NextImg:Temporary Gaza cease-fire plan reached in Paris, could see more hostages freed

Israeli officials are optimistic about a plan that could bring a new temporary cease-fire to Gaza and see more hostages released.

Delegates returned to Jerusalem from talks in Paris with an “outline of an agreement” reached with American, Egyptian and Qatari representatives.

“There were good talks, there’s significant progress,” one official told Israel’s Channel 12. “We have a basis on which to build a plan and the negotiations.”

Israeli delegates returned from Paris with an “outline of an agreement” to “build a plan and the negotiations” to present to the terrorist group, according to one official. Getty Images

“Continuing progress is now up to Hamas,” said another foreign official, The Times of Israel reported.

The outline was to be presented to Israel’s war cabinet Saturday. If the cabinet gives it a green light, the plan will be presented to Hamas and another round of talks will follow, an Israeli official said.

In addition to the framework for a short-term ceasefire and another prisoner-hostage exchange, the outline also includes details on where IDF would be allowed to operate in Gaza during the truce, The Times of Israel reported.

Hamas has reportedly lowered the number of Palestinian prisoners it is demanding released in order to let the remaining hostages go, and is not asking for a completely withdrawal of IDF forces in Gaza.

The report also said Hamas has appeared to accept a six-week cease-fire instead of a permanent truce.

The outline will be presented to the war cabinet for approval Saturday before eventually being presented to Hamas, and it is believed to hold the hostages as a central issue. REUTERS

Separately, the Biden Administration asked Israel to stop targeting the civilian police force in Gaza, which is run by Hamas. The police escort aid trucks in Gaza and the US is asking Israel to leave them alone to not exacerbate the humanitarian crisis, where many are facing starvation, three US and Israeli officials told Axios.

The civilian police have been operating in Rafah, where Israel will be focusing its attacks come Ramadan, which begins March 10, and at the nearby Kerem Shalom crossing, where aid trucks are coming through.

However, the force has attacked Israeli forces.

Another prisoner-hostage exchange is expected to be proposed, as well as another temporary cease-fire and where IDF will be allowed to operate in Gaza during the truce. IDF

In recent weeks, 11 police officers have been killed by Israeli airstrikes, the report said.

US officials are concerned that “Gaza is turning into Mogadishu,” the trouble capital of Somalia that is also facing a humanitarian crisis and at one point was considered the most dangerous city in the world.

The number of aid trucks entering Gaza dropped significantly in recent weeks, according to the UN.

The US is also encouraging Israel to make a post-war plan for Gaza, after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced tentative plans to keep military control of the region and have locals with no terrorism connections to rule the strip.

In other developments:

Sources with knowledge of Hamas positions said it has lowered the number of Palestinian security prisoner is it demanding in order to release the remaining hostages and is not asking for a completely withdrawal of IDF forces. X/IDFOnline

— The Israeli Defense Force raided the home of a senior Hamas intelligence officer in Khan Younis, in Southern Gaza, where soldiers found a tunnel, which has since been destroyed, and weapons, including a cache of mortars and repurposed bags bearing the logo of the UN Relief and Works Agency, which delivers aid to the local population. Some UNRWA workers were accused of taking part in the horrific Oct. 7 attacks that started the war.

— Italian Prime Minster Giorgia Meloni said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine laid the groundwork for Hamas’ invasion of Israel on Oct. 7.

“If Russia had not invaded Ukraine, in all likelihood Hamas would not have launched such an attack against Israel,” Meloni said in an interview with Il Giornale.

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“It was inevitable that such a serious violation of international law, moreover at the hands of a permanent member of the UN Security Council, would have cascading consequences on other areas of the world, from the Middle East to the Balkans, up to Africa.”

“This is the game we are playing, and we must be aware. If international legality is not re-established in Ukraine, the outbreaks of conflict will continue to multiply.”

She also expressed support for a two-state solution, which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected.