Israel-Hamas war, day 206: Antony Blinken on tour of the Middle East, negotiations for a truce in Egypt

While the previous truce in the Gaza Strip dates back to the end of November 2023 and lasted a week, allowing the release of 105 hostages by Hamas against 240 Palestinians detained in Israeli prisons, Hamas must give its response to the Israeli proposal for a ceasefire in Gaza and the release of hostages

Israel-Hamas war, day 206: Antony Blinken on tour of the Middle East, negotiations for a truce in Egypt

While the previous truce in the Gaza Strip dates back to the end of November 2023 and lasted a week, allowing the release of 105 hostages by Hamas against 240 Palestinians detained in Israeli prisons, Hamas must give its response to the Israeli proposal for a ceasefire in Gaza and the release of hostages.

The Hamas health ministry announced a new death toll of 34,488 in the Gaza Strip since the start of the war. In twenty-four hours, at least 34 additional deaths were recorded, according to a ministry press release.

• Anthony Blinken reaffirms that the United States is opposed to an Israeli operation in Rafah

The head of American diplomacy arrived in Saudi Arabia on Monday, for the first leg of a tour of the Middle East which aims to promote a truce between Israel and Hamas and the entry of more humanitarian aid into the Strip. Gaza.

At the World Economic Forum in Riyadh, Antony Blinken reaffirmed that the United States is opposed to a potential ground operation in Rafah. “We have yet to see a plan that allows us to believe that civilians can be effectively protected,” he said. This new warning comes as the Israeli army steps up its preparations.

According to the American Secretary of State, diplomacy has stemmed the spread of the conflict between Israel and Hamas. “We came very close to an escalation or extension of the conflict, and I think through very focused and very determined efforts we were able to avoid that. »

• A meeting in Egypt to relaunch truce negotiations

A meeting was held Monday in Cairo between representatives of Egypt and Qatar, two of the mediator countries with the United States, and Hamas, which must give its response to this proposal negotiated between Israel and Egypt, after months fruitless discussions. According to the British Foreign Office, a forty-day ceasefire has been offered to Hamas.

The head of American diplomacy, Antony Blinken, said he hoped that Hamas would accept a truce proposal which he described as “extraordinarily generous on the part of Israel”. “They have to make a decision, and they have to do it quickly (…) I hope they make the right one,” he added.

“The atmosphere is positive, barring new obstacles posed by Israel,” a Hamas official who requested anonymity told Agence France-Presse (AFP). “No major issues are raised in the comments and requests that Hamas will submit regarding the content of the proposal” during this meeting, he added.

• NGO World Central Kitchen resumes operations in Gaza

The American food organization stopped its activities a month ago after an Israeli strike killed seven of its employees. “We have decided that we must continue our mission of reaching out to provide food to residents during these particularly difficult times,” World Central Kitchen announced in a statement. “We have 276 trucks, with the equivalent of 8 million meals, ready to enter via the Rafah crossing point,” writes the NGO, which claims to have already distributed “more than 43 million meals”

• The United States ready for security guarantees for Saudi Arabia if it moves closer to Israel

The United States is ready to offer Saudi Arabia security guarantees if it normalizes relations with Israel, Antony Blinken said on Monday, who seeks to encourage Israel to accept the idea of ​​a Palestinian state. “(…) To move forward with normalization, two things will be necessary: ​​calm in Gaza and a credible path towards a Palestinian state,” he said during a meeting of the World Economic Forum in Riyadh . Mr. Blinken is expected to meet with Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, on Monday evening to talk more about normalization.