The prospects of a Gaza ceasefire between Hamas and Israel are fading

The relentless Israeli campaign to “annihilate” the Palestinian Islamist movement is drawing ever closer to this city, the last urban center not yet invaded by Jewish state forces.

The war broke out on October 7 after Hamas attacked southern Israel, leaving 1,160 dead, mostly civilians, according to a tally compiled by AFP based on official Israeli data.

The Islamist commandos also captured 250 people that day, 130 of whom are still held in Gaza, including 30 who reportedly died, according to Israeli sources.

In response, Israel’s air and ground offensive has already left 28,985 dead, mostly women and minors, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry.

Netanyahu stressed on Saturday that not entering Rafah would amount to “losing the war” against Hamas, which has ruled the enclave since 2007 and is considered a “terrorist” organization by Israel, the United States and the European Union.

Despite international calls to avoid an attack on the city, Netanyahu insisted the operation would go ahead with or without an agreement with Hamas to release hostages.

However, the most recent negotiations were not “very promising,” admitted Qatar, an important mediator in the conflict alongside the USA and Egypt, on Saturday.

“It’s not a war, it’s a genocide”

Qatari Prime Minister Mohamed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani explained that efforts to reach a ceasefire were complicated by “many countries” insisting that a new ceasefire include the release of hostages.

Hamas also threatened to suspend its participation in the dialogue unless aid was sent to the northern Gaza Strip, where NGOs have warned of impending famine.

The UN Security Council could vote next week on a call for a “humanitarian ceasefire” in Gaza, although the US has said it is likely to block the initiative.

“If it comes to a vote as written, it will not pass,” warned US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield.

The project presented by Algeria seeks an immediate ceasefire. The United States, however, supports a ceasefire agreement to release the hostages that stops fighting for six weeks.

Algeria began discussing this new resolution after the International Court of Justice ruled in late January that Israel must prevent any “genocide” in Gaza.

For Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the Jewish state is not doing enough.

“What is happening in Gaza is not a war, it is a genocide,” he said in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, comparing his actions to Adolf Hitler’s campaign to exterminate Jews.

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Hamas’ health ministry reported on Sunday that 127 people had died in Gaza in the past 24 hours.

“They tortured him in the safe zone”

At a mortuary in Rafah, a group of people said goodbye to their loved one. “He is my cousin, he was martyred in al-Mawasi, in the ‘safe zone’,” explained Ahmad Muhammad Aburizq.

Egypt, which borders Gaza, fears an offensive against Rafah could trigger an exodus of Palestinians into its territory.

In a phone call, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al Sisi and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron agreed that allowing Gaza citizens to enter the country would constitute “a violation of international humanitarian law” and increase the risk of “a regional escalation.” Egypt force.

The war has raised fears of the conflict expanding. The Israeli military said on Sunday it had bombed “terrorist infrastructure” belonging to the Iran-backed Islamist movement Hezbollah in southern Lebanon.

The conflict also led to violence in the West Bank, a Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since 1967.

The head of diplomacy of the European Union, Josep Borrell, said that the situation in this region represents an obstacle to peace.

“The West Bank is the real obstacle to the two-state solution,” he told the Munich Security Conference, stressing that the EU must support “the Arab initiative” to create a Palestinian state in both the West Bank and Gaza.

The Israeli army reported on Sunday that its troops continued to operate “at Nasser Hospital” in Khan Younis, the southern Gaza Strip city where forces are concentrating their operations.

Israeli troops entered the hospital on Thursday after receiving “credible information” that hostages were being held there.

The attack resulted in the medical center being “out of order” despite the presence of 200 patients, denounced the head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, on the social network X.

According to Hamas, six patients, including a child, died in the hospital due to power outages.

The Islamist group said that “70 medical personnel” had been arrested and reported that “dozens of patients were also held in hospital beds” and taken to “an unknown destination.”

SPRING: AFP

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