Limited Hopes in Ceasefire Talks

Hopes for a ceasefire agreement and release of hostages are still limited. They were raised on Saturday by news that Hamas was willing to drop one of its key demands in negotiations – an upfront agreement to a complete end in the war. But there are many other gaps between the two sides that need to be bridged.

Benjamin Netanyahu set out on Sunday four ‘red lines’ to which he will hold. First, any deal must allow Israel to continue to fight the war until its goals are achieved. Second, weapons smuggling to Hamas from the Egyptian border must be prevented. Third, there shall be no return of thousands of armed terrorists to the northern Gaza Strip. And fourth, Israel wants to ensure the maximum number of live hostages be released.

There has been much criticism of Netanyahu`s statement by Israeli officials who claim the prime minister has made negotiations more difficult. But he continues to face threats from two of his coalition partners to pull out if he agrees to a ceasefire. That leads others to believe he is trying to slow down the ceasefire talks so as to keep his governing coalition together until the Knesset’s summer break.

Whatever the motivation, this is an extraordinarily difficult situation, with Israel facing attacks from the Gaza Strip, Lebanon, the West Bank, Syria, Iraq and Yemen; while families and friends of the hostages struggle with the agonising wait for their release.

This report from i24 News: