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Demonstrators hold placards as they take part in a rally calling for the release of hostages kidnapped in the deadly October 7 attack on Israel by the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas from Gaza, in Tel Aviv, Israel, February 25, 2024.

REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

Palestinian Authority PM resigns amid truce talks for Gaza

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyehtendered his resignation to President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday, in a move that could set the stage for Gaza’s future government. Meanwhile, negotiations for a temporary ceasefire in Gaza have resumed in Doha between “experts” from Israel, Egypt, Qatar, and the United States, and representatives of Hamas.

What are the terms?

According to a framework drawn up in Paris on Friday, hostilities would pause for six weeks. Hamas would release approximately 40 hostages, while Israel would free hundreds of Palestinian prisoners. Israeli troops would be “redeployed” within Gaza, but not fully withdraw as Hamas had demanded. Israel would also enable the return of Palestinian women and children to northern Gaza.

The clock is ticking

March 10 marks the start of Ramadan and is considered the unofficial deadline for the talks. War cabinet minister Benny Gantz has said Israel will expand its offensive into Rafah if there is no hostage release deal by then.

Will a deal stave off operations in Rafah?

Not necessarily. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel’s incursion into Rafah “will be delayed somewhat” if the parties reach a hostage deal but will still happen. According to White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, however, “the White House hasn't seen any Israeli plan for an operation in Rafah and for keeping Palestinian civilians safe,” and that no action in Rafah should go ahead in its absence.

Why did Shtayyeh resign?

Longer term, the United States has been pressuring the PA to clean up its act. Washington envisions a technocratic PA government overseeing post-war Gaza, but with its reputation for corruption and low esteem in the eyes of West Bank residents, a major government overhaul is seen as indispensable.

The Palestinian Authority has not held elections in nearly two decades, with Abbas ruling by presidential decree since the expiration of his nominally four year long term. The last time they attempted to democratically choose leadership, in 2006, Hamas won control of Gaza and pushed the Palestinian Authority out by force within a year. We have our eye on how the PA decides its future leadership, and whether a return to Gaza is even a feasible proposition.

EU/NATO summits intensify support for Ukraine
EU/NATO Summits Intensify Support for Ukraine | Europe In :60 | GZERO Media

EU/NATO summits intensify support for Ukraine

Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, shares his perspective from Doha on European support for Ukraine.

Is European support for Ukraine holding up?

I mean, the answer is, very distinctly, is yes. There was a remarkable, you can call it the summit of summits, in Brussels on Thursday, where we had, first the NATO summit with President Biden as well, we had the G7 summit and we had the EU summit with President Biden as well. There's never been, to my knowledge, any summit of summits of that particular sort. And that took place on the day, one month after President Putin started his aggression against Ukraine. Sanctions are being intensified. Weapons deliveries to Ukraine are intensified. The thing that worries the Europeans somewhat is, of course, energy dependence and energy prices. And you've seen a lot of people coming to--quite high up--at the moment Doha in Qatar, in order to secure supplies of natural gas and other energies in order to get Europe off its dependence, or the dependence of some of the country's, on natural gas from Russia.

That will happen as well. So support, certainly holding up.

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