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USA: Israel has accepted the framework for the cease-fire agreement in Gaza

2024-03-02 22:35:00, Kosova & Bota CNA

USA: Israel has accepted the framework for the cease-fire agreement in Gaza

Israel has accepted the framework of a Gaza ceasefire and hostage release deal and now Hamas must make a decision on that, a US administration official said on Saturday, a day before truce talks were to resume in Egypt.

International mediators have been working for weeks to reach an agreement that would allow the fighting to end before the holy month of Ramadan begins on March 10.

The deal would pave the way for humanitarian aid to be sent to hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in northern Gaza, who aid officials say are at risk of starvation.

The Israelis have "more or less accepted the proposal", which includes a six-week ceasefire and the release of hostages from Hamas, who are considered at risk, including the sick, the elderly, the wounded and women, the US official said.

"Right now, the ball is in Hamas's court and we are trying to advance the effort to reach an agreement as much as we can," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity under rules set by the White House. in the context of informing journalists.

Officials from Israel and Hamas did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Associated Press news agency.

A senior Egyptian official said mediators from Egypt and Qatar are expected to receive a response from Hamas during talks scheduled for Sunday in Cairo.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the talks. The talks come amid growing criticism of the desperation of hundreds of thousands of people struggling to survive in northern Gaza, which has borne the brunt of the conflict that began when the Hamas militant group attacked Israel on October 7. According to Israeli authorities, 1,200 people, mostly civilians, were killed in the attack by Hamas militants, while around 250 others were taken hostage.

United States military aircraft began airdropping humanitarian aid today, while the armies of Jordan and Egypt said they had made similar deliveries. The European Union's diplomatic service said on Saturday that many of the dozens of Palestinians who were injured and killed in the chaos while surrounding a humanitarian convoy were hit by the Israeli army, and called for an international investigation.

Residents in northern Gaza say they are searching under the rubble or among the debris to find anything to feed the children, who barely eat one ration a day. Many families have started mixing animal and poultry feed with wheat to bake bread. International aid agency officials say they have encountered catastrophic famine. "We are starving," said Soad Abu Hussein, a widow and mother of five sheltering in a school in the Jabaliya refugee camp.

At least 10 children have died of starvation, according to hospital records in Gaza, the World Health Organization said.

The Health Ministry in Gaza, which is controlled by Hamas, said the Palestinian death toll from the war has reached 30,320. The ministry does not distinguish between civilians and combatants in its figures, but says women and children make up about two-thirds of those killed.

Israel and Hamas implemented a week-long ceasefire in late November. The truce made possible the release of about 100 hostages, mostly women, children and foreign nationals, in exchange for about 240 Palestinians imprisoned by Israel, as well as a brief cessation of hostilities./ VOA

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