Menu

Pushing for Silence

By
Photo: The first almost real talks about silence in Gaza: cautious contacts between Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi and CIA Director William Burns are expected to pave the way to an agreement. Source: Getty Images
Photo: The first almost real talks about silence in Gaza: cautious contacts between Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi and CIA Director William Burns are expected to pave the way to an agreement. Source: Getty Images

Hamas and Israel are once again returning to the negotiating table over the release of hostages and a ceasefire. This comes as the Israel Defense Forces confirm that they are launching a new operation in Tel al-Hawa, a village south of Gaza City located in northern Gaza Strip. On the one hand, the situation does not seem particularly promising, given that such negotiations tend to recur approximately every two months. On the other hand, Israel is being actively urged to negotiate by its strategic partners, such as the United States. If only someone else could also encourage Hamas to engage in talks.


This latest round of negotiations began this week after CIA Director William Burns visited Cairo for discussions, according to Egyptian state television Qahera TV, which is close to security services.


White House National Security Spokesperson John Kirby confirmed on Monday that CIA Director Bill Burns and US Middle East Envoy Brett McGurk are in Egypt to hold talks with their Egyptian, Israeli, and Jordanian counterparts.


This occurred on the same day that the Israeli Air Force carried out strikes on Hamas infrastructure in Gaza and Hezbollah positions in southern Lebanon. Nevertheless, Kirby expressed hope for success during a briefing, although he acknowledged existing gaps between Israel and Hamas: “There are still some gaps that remain between the two sides' positions, but we wouldn’t have sent a team if we didn’t think there was a chance. We are trying to bridge those gaps as best we can.”


The main obstacle to a ceasefire is that, as of early July, Hamas holds approximately 120 of the 250 hostages captured during the terrorist attacks of 7 October 2023. Why is the number approximate? Because there has been information circulating about the death of some hostages while in captivity. For example, in May, some Israeli sources suggested that only 95 hostages might still be alive.


The US and other NATO countries would prefer to see a swift end to the violence in Gaza, where Hamas is firing rockets, and northern Israel, which is being attacked by Hezbollah. Beyond the general human desire for peace, there is a global objective: to prevent the full-scale onset of a Third World War, the signs of which are visible not only in Ukraine, where Russia has invaded, but also in the Middle East with the support of the “Moscow-Tehran Axis of Evil.”


Human Shields for Hamas

From the outside, it may seem as though the Israel Defense Forces are almost continuously attacking cities and towns in the Gaza Strip, causing severe suffering for the local population. But the reality is much more complex. Since the autumn of 2023, Israeli forces have been working to dismantle Hamas’s military capabilities, which have been deemed illegal following the terrorist attacks on 7 October last year. The Israeli military is also attempting to destroy the production and storage bases for the rockets that Hamas militants use to regularly strike Israeli cities and towns.


During raids, the Israelis frequently discover and document these weapons production and storage sites in civilian structures — from residential buildings to schools and hospitals. Therefore, calls not to target civilian sites in light of these facts appear extremely dubious and cynical.


As with previous operations, the Israeli military has urged civilians to leave the areas of anti-terrorist operations with the support of armoured vehicles. However, the local population has not been very responsive to these orders. There are both objective and subjective reasons for this non-compliance. For example, neighbouring Arab states are not particularly eager to accept refugees from the Gaza Strip. On the other hand, Hamas leaders skillfully use the “human shield” tactic, so they are motivated to keep residents in place. Nevertheless, tens of thousands of people are moving from the sites of anti-terrorist operations to temporary shelter camps, despite the harsh conditions there.


Overall, the situation in the Gaza Strip can be described as a horrific mix of a real humanitarian disaster with the actions of terrorists seeking to use the civilian population as cover.


Photo: IDF Provides Further Evidence of Hamas Using Civilian Infrastructure for Terrorist Purposes. During operations in the Shejaiya area, IDF forces discovered dozens of weapons, grenades, and valuable intelligence documents in a school building. This school was used by the Shejaiya battalion terrorists as a hideout and weapons depot. Source: IDF



What Makes These Negotiations Better?

Efforts to secure the release of hostages taken in October last year have been ongoing for several months. Hamas aimed to exchange the Israelis and foreigners it had captured for several thousand Palestinian prisoners. At that time, Qatar acted as a mediator, providing a platform for negotiations between Israel and Hamas. However, that exchange process halted halfway through in the autumn of 2023, with just over half of the hostages released.


Subsequent military and diplomatic efforts by Israel did not yield progress. Eventually, on 6 May, the Israel Defense Forces announced they would "continue to pursue Hamas throughout Gaza until all the hostages they hold are returned home." They began to implement this plan, paying little heed to international criticisms. This activity seemed to attract more powerful participants.


On 31 May, US President Joe Biden unveiled his plan to resolve the issue. Biden’s plan appeared quite constructive, as it reportedly incorporated detailed Israeli proposals. The plan consists of three stages.


The first stage of Biden's plan calls for a "complete ceasefire" for six weeks, the withdrawal of Israeli troops from residential areas of Gaza, and the exchange of certain hostages, including women, the elderly, the sick, and the wounded, for Palestinians held in Israeli prisons.

The second stage involves the release of all other surviving hostages and transitioning the ceasefire to a permanent basis.

The third stage involves launching a large-scale reconstruction plan for Gaza and returning the remains of deceased hostages.


As we can see, it took more than five weeks to align positions and begin negotiations around this plan. The process finally began moving on 4 July following a phone call between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Joe Biden. After this conversation, the Israeli side announced its "decision to send a delegation to continue negotiations on the hostages and affirmed the principles to which Israel is committed, especially its commitment to end the war only after achieving all its goals."


What goals did Netanyahu have in mind? First and foremost, the return of all remaining hostages, the destruction of Hamas’s military and leadership capabilities, and ensuring that Gaza no longer poses a threat to Israel.


The White House welcomed this decision to return to negotiations and Israel's willingness to cooperate with mediators from the US, Qatar, and Egypt. The process has begun, but it is not straightforward.


It seems that Hamas no longer insists on a complete ceasefire but rather, according to the BBC citing a senior Palestinian official, prefers the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the strip of land along Gaza’s southern border with Egypt, known as the Philadelphi Corridor, and from the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt. However, on Tuesday, 9 July, Hamas announced that the ongoing Israel Defense Forces offensive was putting the negotiation process at risk.


In response, the Israel Defense Forces insisted they were targeting terrorists and provided corresponding evidence. "Operational update from Shejaiya: 150+ terrorists eliminated; 6 terrorist tunnels destroyed; booby-trapped buildings dismantled; dozens of weapons and intelligence documents found; while examining the tunnels, a branched tunnel system was located. In some of the branches, terrorist hideouts and command and control centers were located," the IDF wrote on their account on X (formerly Twitter) on 9 July.


The army is supported by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who believes that the agreement should not prevent Israel from continuing military actions until it achieves its military objectives, including the destruction of Hamas as a threat. This stance is likely based not on Netanyahu’s stubbornness but on his many years of dealing with Hamas. Meanwhile, in Cairo on 9 July, a working meeting took place between Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi and CIA Director William Burns to discuss ways to advance ceasefire negotiations in Gaza. There are calls for a ceasefire everywhere – from Gaza to Tehran, from Washington to Jerusalem. But in Jerusalem, there is also a call for an end to the threat from Gaza. This is a serious problem for Hamas.

Recommended

Life

Mountain Retreat in Summer: The Best High-Altitude Resorts in Eastern Europe

07.13.2024 14:04
Politics

Starmer's Rapid Engagements

07.12.2024 17:08
Politics

NATO Reboots

07.12.2024 13:12
Life

Beauty and Fashion: 10 Cool YouTubers from Eastern Europe

07.12.2024 10:15
Politics

NATO Sees a Real Threat

07.11.2024 15:52

Similar articles

We use cookies to personalize content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyze our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners who may combine it with other information that you've provided to them. Cookie Policy

Outdated Browser
Для комфортної роботи в Мережі потрібен сучасний браузер. Тут можна знайти останні версії.
Outdated Browser
Цей сайт призначений для комп'ютерів, але
ви можете вільно користуватися ним.
67.15%
людей використовує
цей браузер
Google Chrome
Доступно для
  • Windows
  • Mac OS
  • Linux
9.6%
людей використовує
цей браузер
Mozilla Firefox
Доступно для
  • Windows
  • Mac OS
  • Linux
4.5%
людей використовує
цей браузер
Microsoft Edge
Доступно для
  • Windows
  • Mac OS
3.15%
людей використовує
цей браузер
Доступно для
  • Windows
  • Mac OS
  • Linux