Israel-Hamas indicate no deal likely after Biden signals Gaza ceasefire could be close

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Israel-Hamas indicate no deal likely after Biden signals Gaza ceasefire could be close

On the day of the Michigan primary, Biden made these comments in response to criticism from the state's sizable Arab American community on his backing of Israel's offensive.
Following US President Joe Biden's statement that Israel has promised to halt its offensive during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan if an agreement is made to free certain hostages, Israel and Hamas on Tuesday downplayed the likelihood of an immediate breakthrough in negotiations for a cease-fire in Gaza.

The president made these comments the night before the Michigan primary, where the state's sizable Arab American population is pressuring him because of his unwavering support for Israel's offensive. Although Biden claimed that his national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, had updated him on the discussions' progress, he clarified that his remarks only expressed his optimism for a settlement, not that all obstacles had yet to be cleared.

Following Hamas' onslaught on southern Israel on October 7, Israel launched an air, sea, and ground campaign in Gaza that resulted in tens of thousands of deaths, the destruction of vast portions of the urban environment, and the eviction of 80% of the residents of the beleaguered enclave.

Concern that a famine may be approaching has been raised by Israel's seal on the region, which permits just a small amount of food and other relief to enter. This is according to the United Nations.

Due to the absence of safe corridors, U.N. truck deliveries of help have been hindered. As a result, on Tuesday, food, medical supplies, and other relief were airdropped into Gaza by Egypt, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and France. Thousands of Palestinians hurried along the sand to gather crates of goods dropped from military aircraft that drifted down on parachutes at a beach in southern Gaza.

However, concern is rising about the 2.3 million Palestinians living in Gaza experiencing increased hunger.

Ashraf al-Qidra, the spokesman for Gaza's Health Ministry, stated that two infants at Kamal Adwan Hospital in Gaza City passed away from malnourishment and dehydration. He cautioned that a rise in newborn mortality is possible.

He predicted that hundreds of children and pregnant women in the Gaza Strip will perish from malnourishment and dehydration.

According to the U.N. Population Fund, mothers in Gaza's southernmost town of Rafah were not receiving prenatal or postnatal treatment, which was causing newborns to die. This information was given by the Al Helal Al Emirati maternity facility. Staff members are being forced to place four or five newborns in a single incubator due to an increase in premature births. It stated that the majority of them do not survive without providing an estimate of the death toll.

Concerns over the fate of the 1.4 million residents who are besieged in Rafah have now spread throughout the world due to the possibility of an invasion.

Negotiations to stop the conflict started on Tuesday and have picked up steam recently. A cease-fire that would see Hamas release some of the dozens of hostages it is holding in exchange for the release of Palestinian prisoners, a six-week pause to violence, and an increase in assistance delivery to Gaza has been mediated by negotiators from the United States, Egypt, and Qatar. An informal deadline for a settlement is thought to be around March 10, the start of Ramadan. Throughout the world, hundreds of millions of Muslims fast from sunrise to dusk during this month-long period of increased religious observance. Tensions between Israelis and Palestinians have already erupted during the holy month.

In an appearance on NBC's "Late Night With Seth Meyers" that was taped on Monday, Biden stated that Ramadan is approaching and that the Israelis had agreed not to participate in any activities during Ramadan as well, to provide us more time to free all of the captives.

The same day, Biden expressed his optimism that a cease-fire agreement might be implemented by the following week in separate remarks.

Biden did not, however, demand a halt to the battle, which began when Israeli authorities reported that Hamas terrorists had killed 1,200 people, the most of them civilians, and kidnapped some 250 more. Israeli officials claimed that Biden's remarks were unexpected and uninformed by the government of the nation. Rejecting any notion of progress, a Hamas spokesman declared that the organization will not back down from its demands.
The Israeli officials said that although Hamas keeps making unreasonable demands, Israel wants a settlement immediately and spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the sensitive talks with the media. Additionally, they claimed that Israel is demanding that the first batch of prisoners freed under any circumstances include female soldiers.

Ahmad Abdel-Hadi, a Hamas official, stated that excitement about an agreement was unwarranted.
He made this statement to the Pan-Arab TV channel Al Mayadeen: "The resistance is not interested in giving up any of its demands, and what is proposed does not meet what it had requested."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu referred to Hamas's prior demands that Israel halt the war as "delusional" when they were made as part of any agreement.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed preparations for Gaza's governance and rehabilitation after the war over the phone with the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in Washington.

While neither nation is directly involved in the ceasefire negotiations, both will be vital to support what will be an expensive, protracted, and challenging situation when the fighting ends. This is especially true in terms of garnering support from the Arab public for security guarantees for Israel in the event that it agrees to engage in negotiations on the establishment of a Palestinian state.

The Health Ministry of Gaza, which is governed by Hamas, reports that over 29,700 Palestinians have died as a result of Israel's offensive, the majority of whom were women and children. In counting, it makes no distinction between combatants and non-combatants.

In late November, the war's first and only cease-fire resulted in the release of over 100 hostages, the majority of whom were women, children, and foreign people, in return for roughly 240 Palestinians held captive by Israel and a brief cessation of hostilities.
There are still roughly 130 hostages in Gaza, but according to Israel, about 25% of them are dead.