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Gaza truce talks are back on amid concerns over Rafah

US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden receive King Abdullah II of Jordan.

US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden receive King Abdullah II of Jordan.

Top officials from the US, Israel, Egypt, and Qatar met in Cairo on Tuesday to resume talks for a new truce in Gaza. President Joe Biden, who sent CIA Director Bill Burns to participate, on Monday said the discussions aim to establish a six-week cease-fire that would free more hostages and make room for an “enduring” agreement.

The White House on Tuesday said the talks were “moving in the right direction,” but mediators still face significant hurdles. Just last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahurejected a cease-fire proposal from Hamas that called for a 135-day, three-stage truce involving the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza.

Netanyahu has repeatedly said he won’t give up on destroying Hamas, while the militant group is determined to stand its ground. The intractable stances of both sides have continuously derailed efforts for another cease-fire.

The talks also come amid growing concerns about Israel’s plans for a ground offensive in the southern Gaza border town of Rafah. Biden, who met with Jordan’s King Abdullah II at the White House on Monday, warned Israel against going into Rafah without a “credible plan” to protect the roughly 1.4 million displaced Palestinians sheltering there but did not outline any consequences that he would impose.

In yet another sign of the growing global concern over Gaza, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is traveling to Egypt on Wednesday for the first time in over a decade to meet with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. The Israel-Hamas war will be at the top of their agenda.


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