Netanyahu Rejects Hamas Ceasefire as Deceptive, Advances Rafah Offensive

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized Hamas’s supposed ceasefire proposal on Tuesday, claiming it was a deceptive move to delay Israel’s planned ground offensive in Rafah. He asserted that the purpose of the Rafah operation is to secure the release of hostages and dismantle Hamas, emphasizing that military pressure is necessary for hostage release.

Despite his comments, Netanyahu sent an Israeli delegation to peace talks in Cairo, in the midst of mounting international pressure to reach a ceasefire agreement. The previous day, Hamas’s political leader, Ismail Haniyeh, had expressed willingness to accept a ceasefire with some modifications, only for Israeli troops and tanks to advance into Rafah and seize the vital border crossing with Egypt, effectively cutting off aid to the region.

The United Nations raised concerns about the catastrophic effects of closing major border crossings in southern Gaza. Andrew De Domenico, overseeing the UN’s humanitarian agency for Palestinian territories, warned that the closure would render three Rafah hospitals inoperative, cutting off 1.5 million civilians from crucial healthcare. Hamas has been pushing for a permanent end to fighting and the complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza, while Israel seeks a temporary ceasefire for a hostage exchange and remains committed to dismantling Hamas.

Amid this tense situation, the White House expressed hopes of a compromise between Israel and Hamas, and CIA Director William Burns is expected to meet with officials from both sides in Cairo to restart talks.

Written by Staff Reports

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