New talks on truce deal between Israel and Hamas open in Cairo

New talks on truce deal between Israel and Hamas open

While the Israeli army has announced its partial withdrawal from southern Gaza, Egypt is opening a new session of talks in Cairo on a truce agreement in exchange for the release of Israeli hostages kidnapped by Hamas.

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The Israeli delegation finally obtained the green light from the Israeli war cabinet and is in Cairo this Sunday, with expanded prerogatives to allow finalization of an agreement on a truce and an exchange of prisoners. The team of Israeli negotiators is led by the heads of Mossad and Shin Bet, the Israeli special services, reports our correspondent in Jerusalem, Michael Paul.

This is exactly what US President Joe Biden demanded during his telephone conversation with Benyamin Netanyahu last Thursday. Earlier today, the Israeli Prime Minister said that it was not Israel that was preventing a deal from being reached. The Jewish state wants an agreement, but not capitulation. This Saturday evening, the Israeli media showed a certain optimism and even predicted an agreement for the end of Ramadan, by April 10.

A release linked to the partial withdrawal from Gaza?

This release could be linked to the withdrawal of most Israeli troops from the Gaza Strip announced this Saturday. According to the Israeli military, the decision was taken without any link to external pressure, but it is clear that it paves the way for negotiations in Cairo. The redeployment was completed last night.

Read alsoIsraeli army announces withdrawal of troops from southern Gaza Strip

Currently, only one division and another brigade remain inside the Gaza Strip. Mainly along the axis which cuts the Palestinian enclave in two, with the main mission of preventing the return of Gazan refugees to the north. The mass of Israeli troops have been redeployed on the Israeli side along the border.

“The main thing is what will happen in Cairo”

This doesn’t change the strategy. I don’t think that’s the main point. The main thing is what will happen in Cairo and whether there will be successful negotiations or not, estimates Jean-Paul Chagnolleau, president of the Institute of Mediterranean Middle East Research and Studies (IReMMO), speaking to RFI. It must nevertheless be remembered that the Security Council demanded an immediate humanitarian ceasefire on March 25. At a minimum, the Israelis must comply with this resolution, which is binding. It seems that the Americans have changed their position and are much more willing to put pressure on Israel, but for the moment there is nothing concrete that could allow us to speak of a turning point in this terrible war. », continues the academic.

This partial withdrawal from the Gaza Strip means that incursions will now be occasional. A bit like what happened recently in the area of ​​al-Shifa hospital in Gaza city. But Israeli officials remain determined to carry out a large-scale raid in the town of Rafah at the southern end of the Gaza Strip.