Hamas Leader Visits Cairo for Truce Talks as Gaza Conflict Intensifies

Ismail Haniyeh, the Chief of Hamas’s Political Bureau, is anticipated to arrive in Cairo on Thursday 1 February for discussions regarding the situation in Gaza. 

Haniyeh is scheduled to discuss a truce proposal in Cairo, which was formulated in Paris last weekend, with CIA chief William Burns. The proposed three-stage plan involves an initial six-week halt to the fighting, allowing for increased aid deliveries into Gaza. 

During this stage, only “women, children, and sick men over 60” held by Gaza fighters would be released in exchange for Palestinian prisoners in Israel. Negotiations around the withdrawal of Israeli forces and potential additional stages involving captive-prisoner exchanges would follow, with the rebuilding of Gaza also addressed in the proposed plan.

Meanwhile, Israel continues its offensive in the besieged Palestinian territory. The fighting and aerial bombardment persist, with the main focus of combat centered in the southern city of Khan Yunis, where leading Hamas militants are believed to be hiding, according to Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected the idea of withdrawing forces from Gaza and has consistently vowed to dismantle Hamas. Although Netanyahu’s office has described the ongoing negotiations as “constructive,” he opposes releasing “thousands” of Palestinian prisoners as part of any deal. 

Meanwhile, protests and calls for early elections have emerged, criticizing Netanyahu’s government for its handling of the situation, particularly regarding the families of Israeli captives still held in Gaza.

The delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza has been further hindered by a controversy involving the UN’s agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA. 

Israel accused several UNRWA staff members of involvement in the Hamas operation, leading to donor countries, including the United States, freezing funding for the agency.

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