Updated March 3rd, 2024 at 13:18 IST

Israel 'Basically Signed on' to Six-Week Gaza Ceasefire, US Official Says

Amid the raging Israel-Hamas war, a US official from the Biden administration said that Israel has “basically signed on” to a six-week ceasefire proposal.

Reported by: Bhagyasree Sengupta
Women attend weekly rally calling for release of hostages | Image:AP

Washington – As the devastating Israel-Hamas war continues to rage on, a senior US official from the Biden administration said that Israel has “basically signed on” to a six-week ceasefire proposal and the mediators are waiting for Hamas' stance. According to the Financial Times, the ceasefire deal is expected to be used to facilitate a second round of swaps of Israeli hostages for Palestinian prisoners. The assertion from the official came just days after 112 Palestinians lost their lives while rushing towards humanitarian aid trucks that arrived in Gaza. Earlier this week, an Arab diplomat said that technical negotiations will be taking place in Cairo as early as Sunday, The Financial Times reported. 

“The ball is in the court of Hamas,” the US official said. “There will be a six-week ceasefire in Gaza starting today if Hamas agrees to release the defined category of vulnerable hostages . . . the sick, the wounded, elderly and women," the official close to the administration added. The statement came just hours after Israel reportedly said that ceasefire talks would not continue until Hamas presented a list of hostages, including who are alive and who are dead. The official noted that all the parties will focus on building something more enduring” during the initial ceasefire. Reports are also emerging that more talks are planned in Cairo, with negotiators from the US, Israel, Egypt and Hamas expected to attend with or without the involvement of Qatar. 


US conducts first airdropping in Gaza 

As the prospect of another temporary ceasefire remains unclear, the United States made its first airdrop of humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip on Saturday. The initiative came a day after the US President Joe Biden announced it while holding talks with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni. According to US Central Command, the US Air Force conducted a joint operation with the Royal Jordanian Air Force and three cargo planes airdropped 38,000 ready-to-eat meals. The authorities assured that more such missions will be carried out soon. However, many experts criticised the initiative and called it “insufficient and inadequate”. 


The initiative came after 112 Palestinians died while collecting aid from humanitarian trucks that arrived in Gaza. According to The New York Times, 66 pallets were dropped over Gaza on Saturday. While giving a media briefing on the matter, the officials also assured that the drop sites that had been chosen for the operation were relatively safe areas where people in Gaza are sheltering. The officials made it clear that the United States did not coordinate its operation with Hamas or any other groups that were operating on the ground. 


Published March 3rd, 2024 at 13:18 IST