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Israel orders negotiating team to resume Gaza cease-fire talks

The Israeli government has instructed its negotiating team to resume talks for a Gaza cease-fire and hostage swap deal, as reported by local media. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office stated that the War Cabinet ordered continued negotiations for the return of hostages.

Anadolu Agency MIDDLE EAST
Published May 23,2024

The Israeli government instructed its negotiating team to resume negotiations for a Gaza cease-fire and hostage swap deal, according to local media on Thursday.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said in a statement that the War Cabinet ordered the negotiating team "to continue negotiations for the return of the hostages."

Army Maj. Gen. Nitzan Alon, one of the negotiators, presented an updated plan during a War Cabinet meeting after Netanyahu rejected a previous proposal on Saturday, Israeli public broadcaster KAN reported.

A source told KAN that the negotiating team did not get everything it asked for "but at least progress can be made."

The new proposal included a compromise on a point of contention with Hamas, but came with a stiffening of the Israeli position on other matters that the two sides did not agree on, KAN said, without offering further details.

Talks have revolved around the format of a staged hostage release in return for a temporary truce and the release of at least several hundred Palestinian detainees held by Israel, the broadcaster said.

The largest stumbling block has been Hamas' insistence on Israel ending the war, it added.

Hamas accepted on May 6 a Gaza cease-fire proposal drawn by Egypt and Qatar. Israel, however, said the truce offer did not meet its key demands and decided to launch a ground attack on Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

Hamas, which is believed to be holding nearly 130 Israeli hostages, demands an end to Israel's offensive on Gaza in return for any hostage swap.

Israel continued its brutal offensive on Gaza despite a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire.

More than 35,700 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, the vast majority being women and children, and nearly 80,000 others injured since October following an attack by Hamas.

More than seven months into the Israeli war, vast swathes of Gaza lay in ruins amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water and medicine.

Israel stands accused of "genocide" at the International Court of Justice, which has ordered Tel Aviv to ensure its forces do not commit acts of genocide and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.