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Palestinians, who fled the eastern part of Khan Younis after they were ordered by Israeli army to evacuate their neighborhoods, make their way, amid Israel-Hamas conflict, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip July 2, 2024.

REUTERS/Mohammed Salem TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Hard Numbers: Fleeing Khan Younis, Freed hostage’s mom dies, Haiti’s child displacement crisis, Biden’s heat safety plan, Cambodian arrests, Beryl heads for Jamaica

250,000: The Israeli Defense Forces ordered the evacuation of250,000 Palestinians from the southern Gazan city of Khan Younis on Monday – an untold number have fled by any means possible – before launching strikes overnight in response to rocket attacks on Israel from inside the city. Israeli officials warn that Hamas continues to use Palestinian civilians as human shields.

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Family members, friends, and supporters of Israelis taken hostage on Oct. 7 by Hamas marched from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. They're seen here in Jerusalem on Nov. 18, 2023.

REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

Why Israel’s war aims may “break Israeli society”: a conversation with Israeli hostage negotiator Gershon Baskin

There aren’t many people who have sat down with Hamas to negotiate hostage releases. One of them is Gershon Baskin, a Jerusalem-based activist and writer who is the Middle East Director of the International Communities Organisation, a human rights and conflict resolution group. In 2011, Baskin negotiated the release of an Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, who had been kidnapped by Hamas five years earlier.

Now, with more than 200 Israeli hostages still being held in the Gaza Strip while Israeli forces bombard the enclave in an effort to eradicate Hamas, I spoke with Baskin about what it would take to release those captives, what it’s like to negotiate with Hamas, and whether there is still any hope for peace after what has happened over the last month.

Our conversation has been lightly edited for length and clarity. You can watch part of the interview here.

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