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Widening Mideast Crisis: Families of Israeli Hostages Protest at Border Crossing to Block Aid to Gaza

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The director of the C.I.A. is ready to make a renewed push for negotiations over the discharge of hostages held in Gaza and an prolonged cease-fire, in response to U.S. officers, who mentioned he would meet with senior Israeli, Egyptian and Qatari officers in Europe.

The officers hope to shut a large hole between Israel and Hamas, particularly on two points: the size of any pause in combating and the destiny of Hamas leaders in Gaza, in response to officers briefed on the talks.

Here’s a take a look at the place the talks stand.

How are the negotiations going?

A weeklong truce in November allowed the discharge of greater than 100 of the hostages kidnapped in Hamas’s Oct. 7 assault on Israel; 240 Palestinian prisoners have been launched as a part of that deal. Since then, either side have staked out seemingly intractable positions for one more such settlement.

The talks have superior in matches and begins, with the chief of Israel’s Mossad intelligence company assembly with Qatari officers in each Qatar and Europe. A lot of Hamas’s political leaders are primarily based in Qatar. Egypt, which borders the Gaza Strip, has additionally performed a key function.

William J. Burns, the C.I.A. director, goes to fulfill with senior Israeli, Egyptian and Qatari officers, in response to U.S. officers. They mentioned Israel’s obvious willingness to conform to an extended cessation of hostilities as a part of any additional hostage releases has created a brand new opening for negotiations.

Any new deal would possible embrace phased releases of hostages, although the White Home is hoping {that a} larger deal, resulting in the discharge of the remaining hostages, is perhaps doable. The officers spoke on situation of anonymity to debate the delicate diplomacy.

In current weeks, the mediators have put ahead a number of plans, although with little evident progress. Durations for a proposed cease-fire have ranged from weeks to months. Leaks of a few of the proposals to the press have prompted controversy in Israel, the place right-wing politicians mentioned they’d oppose plans they mentioned would finish the warfare prematurely.

Brett McGurk, the highest Center East coordinator on the White Home, headed again to the area on Sunday to work on releasing hostages, in response to two American officers who spoke on the situation of anonymity.

What phrases are being floated for a brand new cease-fire?

Hamas officers say they are going to solely launch the remaining hostages in Gaza, believed to quantity greater than 100, as a part of a complete cease-fire. Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, mentioned on Sunday that he wouldn’t settle for any deal for a everlasting cease-fire that left Hamas accountable for Gaza.

Underneath one current framework for a deal, mediators proposed a phased launch of the remaining hostages and Palestinian prisoners, with the purpose of reaching a steady cease-fire, a senior Western diplomat and a regional diplomat mentioned.

What are the sticking factors?

The most important stumbling block is whether or not a cease-fire can be designated as momentary, just like the final one, or everlasting.

Israeli officers have urged they may contemplate a everlasting cease-fire if Hamas’s Gaza management depart the strip and go into exile, the 2 diplomats mentioned.

Hamas officers have rejected that concept. “Hamas and its leaders are on their land in Gaza,” Husam Badran, a senior Hamas official, mentioned in a textual content message. “We received’t depart.”

One other doable obstacle to this plan: Mr. Netanyahu mentioned in November that he had informed Mossad “to behave in opposition to the heads of Hamas wherever they’re,” possible elevating fears inside Hamas about whether or not the leaders can be much less protected outdoors Gaza.

What occurs after the warfare ends?

One other negotiating observe entails the way forward for Gaza after the weapons fall silent.

Biden administration officers have mentioned they hope the Palestinian Authority, which administers elements of the Israeli-occupied West Financial institution, will return to regulate Gaza. U.S. officers wish to see each areas included in a future Palestinian state.

Hamas seized management of Gaza in 2007, expelling the rival Fatah celebration, which dominates the Palestinian Authority. If Hamas stays in Gaza after the warfare, it could possible show a formidable impediment.

Mr. Netanyahu has largely dominated out the return of the Palestinian Authority, in its current type, to ruling Gaza. He has additionally indicated that he would oppose the institution of an unbiased Palestinian state after the warfare.

Complicating issues additional, the Palestinian Authority, led by Mahmoud Abbas, faces extreme inner challenges. Polls repeatedly present that the majority Palestinians need Mr. Abbas to resign. He was final elected to a four-year time period in 2005, and critics accuse him of presiding over an more and more autocratic authorities that has failed to finish Israeli rule.

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