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Saturday, July 13, 2024 - 09:02 AM

INDEPENDENT CONSERVATIVE VOICE OF UPSTATE SOUTH CAROLINA

First Published in 1994

INDEPENDENT CONSERVATIVE VOICE OF
UPSTATE SOUTH CAROLINA

Israel map 2024

CAIRO/JERUSALEM (Worthy News) – Israel came under pressure Easter Sunday to accept a Palestinian state as talks resumed on a Gaza truce between the Jewish nation and Hamas, viewed as a terrorist group by Israel’s government and most of its allies.

Just hours before the latest negotiations began in Cairo, Egypt, French foreign minister Stephane Sejourne said his government would put forward a draft “two-state” resolution at the United Nations Security Council.

Sejourne was speaking alongside the Egyptian and Jordanian foreign ministers who all called for an “immediate and permanent ceasefire” in Gaza, despite Israel’s concern that would allow Hamas to regroup and rearm itself.

All ministers said the truce should include the “release of all hostages” who have been since Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, triggering the war.

In addition, Sejourne said that France’s proposed UN resolution foresaw a long-lasting “political settlement” of the war that would include “all the criteria for a two-state solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian “conflict.”

Sejourne mentioned the peace blueprint long championed by the international community but opposed by Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government, Israeli commentators said.

France has been already circulating a U.N. Security Council draft resolution that calls for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and recognition of a Palestinian state, several sources said.

HAMAS CONDEMNATION

The resolution includes a condemnation of Hamas, unlike the resolution that passed Monday, March 25, and a call for the release of the hostages taken from Israel on October 7.

Israel’s U.N. envoy, Gilad Erdan, told Israeli television that the French proposal “plays into Hamas’s hands and rewards terrorism.”

The proposal “breaks all the principles of negotiations and advances unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state,” he complained, adding that Israel will “strongly oppose this terrible proposal.”

While France seeks a “permanent ceasefire” between Israel and Hamas, the U.S. let pass a U.N. resolution demanding a ceasefire during Ramadan, seen as a holy month by Muslims, and the release of all hostages.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether the United States, Israel’s main ally, would agree with the French U.N. resolution, though U.S. President Joe Biden has come under pressure from his Democratic Party to be tougher towards Israel.

France’s proposals were effectively endorsed by Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, who said Gaza “can endure no more destruction and humanitarian suffering.”

Egypt, along with Qatar and the United States, have mediated previous rounds of negotiations but failed to secure a ceasefire before the start of Ramadan.

HUMANITARIAN AID

Shoukry also urged Israel to open all its land crossings with the Gaza Strip to humanitarian aid.

The minister suggested that nearly all aid into the territory has trickled through the Rafah border crossing with Egypt.

Several world leaders and the United Nations have accused Israel of impeding deliveries due to security inspections.

Israel has denied wrongdoing, saying it wants to ensure that aid reaches innocent Palestinians, not Hamas fighters.

It also accused the group and its allies of confiscating or selling aid for prohibitively high prices at markets.

Despite the tensions, Netanyahu approved a new round of ceasefire negotiations in Doha and Cairo, well-informed sources said.

His office said the Israeli premier had spoken to security service Mossad chief David Barnea about the negotiations but did not say whether he would participate in the talks in both cities.

PROTESTS SPREAD

Reports of new talks in Cairo came as protesters blocked the Israeli city of Tel Aviv’s ring road Saturday after two demonstrations in Israel’s biggest city called for the release of hostages held in Gaza and criticized the government’s handling of the war

They recalled that Hamas seized about 253 hostages during the October 7 attacks, and Israel believes 130 remain in Gaza, including 33 who are presumed dead.

Israeli security forces used water cannon against protesters who lit fires and used lorries to block both carriageways of the motorway.

Earlier in Jerusalem, the capital, hundreds picketed the home of Prime Minister Netanyahu, demanding he resign. Israeli media reported smaller anti-government protests across the country.

The demonstrators, including relatives, blamed Netanyahu’s nationalist rightwing government “for failing” to secure the release of the hostages believed to still be in Gaza.

Israeli police said it was working to maintain public order, and Israeli media reported that 16 people were detained.

However, with more protests planned, Israel faced more turmoil on Easter Sunday and beyond.