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Talks Continue on Egypt's Proposal To Replace War with Humanitarian Assistance for Gaza

Aid could be sent to Gaza if there is a ceasefire. U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Jasmonet Holmes

Talks on the Egyptian proposal to end the war in Gaza and create a post-conflict settlement going forward are reported to be continuing. Asharq News first broadcast on Dec. 24 that Egypt had outlined a three-stage plan. That involved an initial truce of two weeks for food, medical aid and fuel to go to Gaza in enlarged quantities, and with hostages and prisoners traded. That truce arrangement would be renewable. Then a government of technocrats would be formed in the Gaza Strip to prioritize and oversee humanitarian assistance. Finally, a full and comprehensive ceasefire, including the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza’s cities, the return of refugees to their homes, and the release of all Israeli soldiers taken hostage and some number of Palestinian prisoners.

The Saudi news channel Al-Hadath reported on a joint statement from Hamas and Islamic Jihad, both of which have representatives meeting with Egyptian officials: “The Egyptian document is the result of important and major efforts and is being discussed thoroughly.” Al-Hadath added that the two groups said they were open to Egypt acting as a mediator and they appreciated its efforts. Al Arabiya broadcaster reported that the United States supported key points of Egypt’s three-point proposal.

AP reported that an Egyptian official, speaking without attribution, said that the plan envisioned Egypt and Qatar working with all Palestinian factions, including Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, to reach an agreement on a proposed government of experts. Further, the details of the proposed deal were discussed with Qatar and presented to Israel, Hamas, the U.S. and European governments earlier this week. A top Hamas official, Izzat al-Rishq, stated that they required a “complete end to the aggression,” and would not agree to a “temporary or partial truce” on its own. AP also reported that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu declined comment. They reported, instead, that he told members of his Likud party on Dec. 25 that they were headed in the opposite direction: “We are expanding the fight in the coming days, and this will be a long battle, and it isn’t close to finished.”

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