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Egypt, UK urge Hamas, Israel to finalize Gaza cease-fire deal

Egyptian, British foreign ministers discuss Biden's cease-fire proposal over phone

06:22 - 5/06/2024 Çarşamba
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File photo
File photo

Egypt and the UK called Tuesday on Hamas and Israel to strike a cease-fire agreement in the Gaza Strip.

In a phone call between Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and his British counterpart David Cameron, the two diplomats discussed a Gaza cease-fire and hostage swap proposal laid out by US President Joe Biden, Egypt's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

On Friday, Biden said Israel presented a three-phase deal that would end hostilities in Gaza and secure the release of hostages held in the coastal enclave. The plan includes a cease-fire, a hostage-prisoner exchange, and reconstruction of Gaza.

The two ministers reiterated support for efforts aimed at reaching a cease-fire in Gaza and urged Hamas and Israel “to complete the agreement to end the humanitarian crisis” in the enclave, the statement said.

Shoukry underlined Egypt's support for efforts “to end the Israeli war on Gaza, ensure full access to humanitarian aid, the complete withdrawal of the Israeli occupation forces from the Gaza Strip, and the return of the displaced.”

He also renewed his call for halting Israeli military operations in the strip, especially in Rafah, and opening all crossings between Israel and Gaza to allow the full entry of aid.

There was no official response yet from Israel or Hamas on Biden's proposal, but the Palestinian group said that it would “respond positively to any proposal that includes a permanent cease-fire, a full withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, reconstruction efforts, the return of the displaced, and the completion of a comprehensive hostage exchange deal.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, however, said Monday that he was "not ready to stop" the war in Gaza, claiming that Biden's remarks about a cease-fire proposal were “inaccurate.”

His coalition partners, far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, have threatened to topple the government if Netanyahu agrees to Biden's cease-fire plan.

Indirect negotiations between Israel and Hamas, mediated by the US, Qatar and Egypt, have so far failed to agree on a permanent cease-fire.

Israel has continued its brutal offensive on Gaza since Oct. 7, 2023 Hamas attack despite a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire.

More than 36,500 Palestinians have since been killed in Gaza, the vast majority being women and children, and nearly 83,000 others injured, according to local health authorities.

Nearly eight months into the Israeli war, vast swathes of Gaza lay in ruins amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water, and medicine.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice, which in its latest ruling has ordered Tel Aviv to immediately halt its operation in the southern city of Rafah, where over a million Palestinians had sought refuge from the war before it was invaded on May 6.


*Writing by Mohammad Sio

#cease-fire
#Egypt
#Gaza
#Israel
#UK
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