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Continuing negotiations, and cover for the perimeter

Photo Credit: IDF Spokesperson

Along with reports of the IDF’s readiness to end the intensive phase of the fighting in Rafah and move to the third phase of the war, both in the southern city and throughout the entire Gaza Strip – that is, a stage in which the IDF operates in the form of targeted raids and air strikes, Without an ongoing maneuver that includes many forces – the American pressure on Hamas is increasing to move from its position and to advance negotiations for the release of the hostages.

On the one hand, one might wonder whether lowering the military pressure from Hamas will make it move toward a deal, or will actually cause it to harden positions. It seems that the Americans are not sure, but they do not rule out the possibility that after the transition to phase three of the war, there may be higher chances of a deal – because the gaps between the sides regarding the question of ending the war will be smaller than in the present.

According to News 12, the Americans wish to slightly change the official Israeli proposal for negotiations, the one presented by Biden in a speech a month ago and the one that even received the UN Security Council blessing. According to the agreement, during the first phase of the deal (in which women and old people will be released), negotiations will be held to determine an accurate key for the second phase of the deal. According to the current version of the Israeli proposal, the negotiations could also include other parties (related to other conditions – the exile of Hamas leaders or a population movement, etc.), while Hamas insists that the negotiations will only be about the key. Right now, the Americans are asking Israel to accept Hamas’ request.

In any case, the IDF continues to operate in Rafah as usual, and according to its estimates, at least 700 terrorists have been killed in the fighting in the city so far. In the morning, several launches were carried out from Khan Yunis toward some of the southern coastal communities; some were intercepted, and some fell in open areas, with no injuries known. In response, the IDF carried out artillery attacks on the area. This is the most concentrated launch in several months – and since Hamas has no ability to renew rockets (due to the IDF’s control of the Philadelphi route), it is clear that these are inventory knock-offs.

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