Israel has agreed to framework for a Gaza cease-fire, U.S. says, with Hamas’ decision pending

RAFAH, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israel has essentially endorsed a framework of a proposed Gaza cease-fire and hostage release deal, and it is now up to Hamas to agree to it, a senior U.S. administration official said Saturday, a day before talks to reach an agreement were to resume in Egypt.

International mediators have been working for weeks to broker a deal to pause the fighting before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins around March 10. A deal would likely allow aid to reach hundreds of thousands of desperate Palestinians in northern Gaza who aid officials worry are under threat of famine.

The Israelis “have more or less accepted” the proposal, which includes the six-week cease-fire as well as the release by Hamas of hostages considered vulnerable, which includes the sick, the wounded, the elderly and women, said the official.

“Right now, the ball is in the court of Hamas and we are continuing to push this as hard as we possibly can,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity under ground rules set by the White House to brief reporters.

Officials from Israel and from Hamas did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

A senior Egyptian official said mediators Egypt and Qatar are expected to receive a response from Hamas during the Cairo talks scheduled to start Sunday. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not publicly authorized to discuss the talks.

There is increasing criticism over the hundreds of thousands struggling to survive in northern Gaza, which has borne the brunt of the conflict that began when the Hamas militant group attacked southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and seizing around 250 hostages.

U.S. military planes began the first airdrops of thousands of meals into Gaza, and the militaries of Jordan and Egypt said they also conducted airdrops. Aid groups say airdrops should be only a last resort and instead urge the opening of other crossings into Gaza and the removal of obstacles at the few that are open.

Read more of this story

The post Israel has agreed to framework for a Gaza cease-fire, U.S. says, with Hamas’ decision pending appeared first on Global News Network Liberia – Global News Network.