US Secretary Antony Blinken in Israel for truce talks amid ongoing Palestine conflict

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Editor : Selin Hayat Hacialioglu
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The US is advocating for a cease-fire in Israel's war against Palestine, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken leading diplomatic efforts

US Secretary Antony Blinken in Israel for truce talks amid ongoing Palestine conflict

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Israel on Wednesday, intensifying efforts to broker a crucial truce as Israel's war against Palestine stretches into its fifth month. Blinken's visit is a key part of a Middle East tour aimed at ending the violence that has engulfed the region.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports that Israel's evacuation orders now encompass two-thirds of the Gaza Strip. This has led to over half of Gaza’s 2.3 million residents being concentrated in the southern town of Rafah.

Why is Antony Blinken visiting Israel

After his visits to Egypt and Qatar, Blinken headed to Israel in order to advocate for a proposed truce framework. Qatar, instrumental in mediating an earlier cease-fire, has conveyed Hamas's response to the new truce proposal.

The health ministry in Gaza, controlled by Hamas, cites casualties of 27,585 killed and 66,978 wounded since Oct. 7 due to Israeli strikes. Conversely, Israeli sources report approximately 1,140 fatalities from Hamas-led attacks, with ongoing hostage situations.

In recent developments, the Israeli military announced they have killed numerous Palestinian militants in Khan Younis, Gaza. The operations also uncovered significant weapons caches and tunnel shafts.

What is Hamas' cease-fire plan

Hamas envisions a comprehensive and phased approach to end hostilities in their cease-fire proposal. This plan includes critical elements such as a prisoner exchange, where Israeli hostages held since the Oct. 7 attacks would be swapped for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli custody. Additionally, the proposal outlines steps for the reconstruction of the war-torn Gaza Strip, addressing the dire humanitarian situation there.

The plan also includes a significant demand for the full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza. This aspect is particularly crucial for Hamas, as it aligns with their long-standing position on Israeli presence in the region. The proposal concludes with provisions for the exchange of bodies and remains, a step aimed at respecting the casualties on both sides and providing closure to families affected by the conflict.

Despite Qatar's positive view of Hamas' response, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has expressed rejection of certain demands.

"Hamas had presented demands that we will not accept," Netanyahu said as reported by the Associated Press (AP).

Source: Newsroom

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