The deputy secretary of state is going to Saudi Arabia to try to restart the Gaza ceasefire talks

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And Joe Biden planned to speak with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu later on Sunday, a US official said.
The US has previously said it was unwilling to support an Israeli attack on Rafah without a plan to protect civilians.
Blinken is due to arrive in Riyadh on Monday for diplomatic talks on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum, to discuss ceasefire negotiations and humanitarian assistance to Gaza.
In the months since, Israeli bombardments of Gaza have killed an estimated 34,000 people and levelled most urban centres.
In the months since, Hamas said it was unwilling to compromise on the full withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza and a permanent ceasefire.
“We call on the United States of America to ask Israel to not carry on the Rafah attack,” he said.
Israel’s far-right finance minister, Bezalel Smotrich, issued a counter message to Netanyahu, calling the potential Egyptian ceasefire deal “humiliating surrender”.
Smotrich warned Netanyahu that declining to attack Rafah risked his withdrawal from the governing coalition, and the collapse of the government.


While other senior US officials asserted that Israel was willing to listen to their concerns about a ground invasion of Gaza’s southernmost city, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is scheduled to visit Saudi Arabia in an attempt to relaunch tense ceasefire negotiations between Hamas and Israel and discuss efforts to prevent spiraling regional conflict.

Anticipated in Cairo concurrently with Blinken’s visit, a Hamas delegation declared that they would react to an Israeli proposal centered on the first release of hostages.

Additionally, a US official stated that Joe Biden would be meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later on Sunday.

World Central Kitchen (WCK), a food aid organization, announced that it would start up again in Gaza in less than a month, citing its desire to “get as much food into Gaza, including northern Gaza, as possible.” This comes after an Israeli attack claimed the lives of seven of its employees.

Amidst rumors that the US military had started building a floating pier off the coast of the territory, WCK said that 276 trucks were waiting to enter via the Rafah crossing and that it was considering using a maritime corridor to deliver aid.

In the midst of concerns about an impending Israeli ground invasion of Rafah in southern Gaza, where over a million people are currently thought to be hiding, pressure on international mediators to broker a speedy agreement has increased. The action runs the risk of killing negotiations to release hostages or find a peaceful way to end the conflict.

John Kirby, the White House spokesperson on national security, stated that Israel was open to hearing worries regarding an invasion of Rafah. Without a strategy to safeguard civilians, the US has previously stated that it would not back an Israeli attack on Rafah.

Kirby told ABC News, “They’ve promised us that they won’t enter Rafah until we’ve had a chance to really share our perspectives and our concerns with them.

It is scheduled for Monday that Blinken arrives in Riyadh for diplomatic talks related to ceasefire negotiations and humanitarian aid to Gaza on the fringes of the World Economic Forum.

Following a new proposal that would initially see the release of a small number of hostages held in Gaza in exchange for the right of Palestinians living in the territory to return home, Egyptian officials have increased their own efforts to mediate talks between Hamas and Israel.

According to an Egyptian official who spoke with Associated Press, mediators were working on a compromise solution to address the primary concerns of both parties and pave the way for additional talks aimed at ending the war completely.

Israeli officials reportedly expressed openness to talking about the repatriation of Palestinians to their homes in northern Gaza and the evacuation of Israeli forces from a central corridor that separates the region, according to the US news outlet Axios. It further stated that following the first hostage release, talks could move on to a second phase that could include discussions about a “sustainable ceasefire.”.

On October 7, after an unprecedented attack that claimed 1,136 lives in nearby towns and kibbutzim, Hamas captured 250 people and held them as hostages. Most urban centers have been destroyed and an estimated 34,000 people have died as a result of Israeli bombardment of Gaza in the months that have passed.

In a first agreement last November, 105 hostages were freed after protracted talks mediated by Qatar and Egypt. The complete withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza and a long-term ceasefire have been demands of Hamas in the months since.

Majed al-Ansari, the spokesperson for Qatar’s foreign ministry and prime minister’s advisor, spoke in a rare interview with Israeli media outlet Haaretz about Doha’s ongoing frustrations with the negotiations, suggesting that the likelihood of a speedy resolution may be slim even as Egypt stepped up its mediation efforts.

He stated, “We were hoping to see more seriousness and commitment on both sides.”. “We are hoping that, with the assistance of our international partners, we can put pressure on both parties to reach a settlement, but at the moment, we are witnessing a significant lack of commitment from both sides to the mediation and the process itself. “.

To discuss a ceasefire in Gaza and efforts to achieve an independent Palestinian state, Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah, the foreign minister of Saudi Arabia, presided over a meeting in Riyadh with diplomats from Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Egypt, and the Palestinian Liberation Organization.

Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, issued a warning during a speech at the World Economic Forum, stating that the entry of ground troops into Rafah could result in widespread displacement and “the biggest catastrophe in the Palestinian people’s history.”.

He declared, “We demand that the United States of America ask Israel to cease the Rafah attack.”. The only nation that can stop Israel from committing this crime is the United States. “.

In a meeting with the head of the IDF’s southern command, the Israel Defense Forces said that its chief of staff, Lt Gen Herzi Halevi, had approved “plans for the continuation of the war.” Meanwhile, Israeli ministers made conflicting demands of Prime Minister Netanyahu regarding a possible ceasefire agreement.

Leading member of Netanyahu’s war cabinet Benny Gantz declared that if the government refused to accept a solution that might result in the hostages being returned, it “will have no right to continue to exist and lead the campaign.”. The agreement “must involve ending the war,” he continued, but it should be “responsible” and backed by the Israeli security services.

In a rebuttal to Netanyahu, Bezalel Smotrich, Israel’s far-right finance minister, referred to the possible Egyptian ceasefire agreement as “humiliating surrender.”.

Smotrich forewarned Netanyahu that if he refrained from attacking Rafah, he could leave the ruling coalition and the government might fall. “The government led by you will have no right to exist if you decide to raise a white flag and cancel the order to occupy Rafah immediately,” he declared.

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