Burns once again pushes for pre-Ramadan ceasefire in Doha

CIA Director William J. Burns is meeting with negotiators in Doha to try to push for a final outcome in Gaza ceasefire and hostage release talks before the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan begins on Monday.

Both Israel and the United States have accused Hamas of failing to agree to a proposal that would have freed about half of Hamas’ remaining Israeli hostages — an estimated total of about 100 — during a six-week pause in fighting that would have also facilitated a major military incursion. action. Increase humanitarian aid into Gaza.

But Hamas insists that Israel agree to a more permanent end to the fighting. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government has firmly refused and said it is determined to destroy the armed group.He vows that Israel will attack Hamas Fighters are said to be hiding About 1.5 million Palestinians are currently crowded in the southern part of the enclave.

“The ball is in the court of both Hamas and Israel,” said one person familiar with the negotiations, who requested anonymity to discuss the sensitive negotiations.

burns, A former career diplomat with decades of experience in sensitive diplomacy arrived in the Qatari capital on Friday. He has been the government’s point man in negotiations between Israel and Hamas, traveling to Doha in late November for a last-ditch effort that resulted in a week-early pause in fighting and the initial release of hostages.

Since the beginning of the current negotiations In January, he visited Paris, Cairo, Tel Aviv and now Doha, the seat of Hamas’s political leadership. David Barnea, the head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency, has attended many of these meetings, including Saturday’s meeting in Qatar.U.S. and Arab officials said the two spy chiefs were able to talk without political considerations, but in a sometimes difficult way in conversations between senior levels of their respective governments.

In weeks of talks brokered by the United States, Qatar and Egypt, the warring sides have indirectly debated a number of issues, including Hamas’s demand for specific amounts of aid to specific locations in Gaza and Israel’s insistence on a full list of remaining hostages and who among them How many people are still alive.

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Israel, while agreeing to redeploy its troops in southern Gaza during the six-week pause, wants to retain freedom of military action in the north. Hamas wants to ensure that all Gazans evacuated from the north can return there and be provided with food, water, medical supplies and shelter. There are also disagreements over how many Palestinians are held in Israeli prisons and who will be released in exchange for hostages.

But people familiar with the matter said these issues were not “the sticking point.” “If you solve the main problem – the ceasefire – then the problem can be solved.” The question of a temporary pause versus a permanent end to the fighting led to the breakdown of talks in Cairo last weekend.

As far as the Biden administration is concerned, pressure is now mounting to reach a deal.It envisions what one senior administration official called a “three-phase deal,” starting with an initial six-phaseFighting was suspended for a week while all women, children, elderly and injured hostages were released and pledged to increase aid.The first part of the hostage release will be Including one of at least six imprisoned U.S. citizens, Hersh Goldberg-PohlingHe was seriously injured and lost an arm in an October 7 Hamas attack in southern Israel that killed about 1,200 people. The attack led to an ongoing Israeli military offensive that has killed more than 30,000 people in the Gaza Strip. President Biden said Thursday.

“All of these things have been negotiated,” the official said. The release of remaining hostages, including captured IDF members, and the continuation of the ceasefire “could be extended into a second phase.”

People familiar with the matter said the United States views the first phase of the agreement as “a step in the right direction – you have 45 days to provide relief to people during Ramadan” and secure the release of many hostages. Once an initial period of calm is established, the hope is that both sides will feel the pressure and agree to a more durable agreement.

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But Hamas, which believes its influence wanes with each hostage released, has yet to sign the first phase of independence that the Israeli government says it has agreed to. Israel says it will return to fighting as soon as all prisoners are recaptured. Neither side believed any of the guarantees signed by the other.

Stop fighting during Ramadan considered an important goal. One of the five pillars of Islam observed by Muslims around the world, this month is marked by fasting, introspection, prayer and, ideally, family gatherings every evening after sunset. The last day of fasting, Eid al-Fitr, is one of two official holidays in Islam.

The holiday is expected to sharply increase tensions in Gaza, where most displaced people live in squalid tents and plastic sheet camps in the south. An estimated 300,000 Palestinians remain in the north, where Israeli airstrikes and ground attacks have reduced the area to vast swathes of rubble. According to reports, most aid convoys are unable to reach northern areas and widespread famine is occurring. irritated biden Authorizing airdrops of food and the construction of temporary ports by U.S. forces on Gaza’s Mediterranean coast to allow large-scale delivery of aid.

But as negotiations progress and the unofficial Ramadan deadline approaches, officials in the region worry about the possibility of other violence. In East Jerusalem, members of Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition government threatened to restrict access to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, one of Islam’s holiest sites and a traditional flashpoint in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyeh called on Palestinians to march there on the first day of fasting. In the West Bank, clashes between Israeli settlers and security forces and Palestinians are expected to increase.

“This is always a very fluid time,” a Biden administration official said. “I’m not going to predict” when a deal could be reached, but “obviously we recognize that extremists may try to use Ramadan to cause something very unfortunate in that holy month.”

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By Ali Raza

I am a dedicated and skilled News Content Writer with a passion for delivering accurate and engaging stories to a diverse audience. With a solid background in journalism and a keen eye for detail, I bring a commitment to excellence and a deep understanding of the evolving media landscape.

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