- On Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — saying that 'total victory' could be months away — rejected a counteroffer forwarded by Hamas regarding last week's proposal that would see Israeli hostages exchanged for an extended ceasefire in Gaza. Negotiations are expected to resume in Cairo on Thursday.1
- Hamas' counterproposal — a draft of which was seen by Reuters — called for a three-stage ceasefire over 135 days that included all hostages released, the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza, and the enclave's reconstruction. The proposal also called for the release of around 1.5K Palestinian prisoners and increased humanitarian aid into Gaza.2
- Some Israeli officials indicated that Hamas's proposal would be difficult to agree to because it stipulates that Israeli forces must withdraw from Gaza. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken held meetings with Israeli officials Wednesday after visits to Qatar and Egypt, which have been mediating between Israel and Hamas.3
- Amid negotiations, Israeli forces have moved closer toward Rafah on the Egyptian border, which is now housing around half of Gaza's 2.3M population due to the swell of displaced Palestinians from the north and center of the strip. Israel has indicated its forces won't push into Rafah without Egyptian approval.4
- Gaza's health ministry reports that the conflict has killed over 27K people in the Gaza Strip, the majority of whom were women and children. The war has also created a rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation. The official Israeli death toll on Oct. 7 stands at around 1.2K people (and there are still over 100 hostages being held in the Gaza Strip).5
- Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by CNN. Israel risks pushing Palestinians into Hamas' hands if it does not work to ensure the safety of civilians and give greater consideration to Hamas' cease-fire offers. Israel's war with Hamas is surely just, given the atrocities the group committed during its Oct. 7 attack, but Israel must take into account the innocent civilians in Gaza who are trapped between Israel's military machine and Hamas' terrorist fighters.
- Pro-Israel narrative, as provided by Jerusalem Post. Israel must eliminate Hamas and restore deterrence with Iran and its proxy Hezbollah by eliminating military capabilities and infrastructure, and it can't stop now. Israel has been forced to use blunt tools to rout Hamas forces because they're deeply dug into Gaza's civil infrastructure. But at the same time — despite what the international community may say — Israel has worked to deliver aid to Gaza and find a way to end the war.
- Pro-Palestine narrative, as provided by Middle East Eye. Israel is waging war not just against Hamas but against the Palestinian people as a whole, making all of Gaza unsafe and in large part uninhabitable. Over 1M Palestinians are living in cold and damp tent camps in Rafah, and an Israeli assault on the city would be disastrous. Israel must get serious about a cease-fire and if it won't, the US — Israel's biggest ally — must exert more pressure to end the war.