Ceasefire Efforts Stall as Israel Rejects International Mediators' Proposal for Gaza

Israel has stated that it will go forward with an attack on the southern Gaza city of Rafah, despite the intense pressure from the United States.

Hamas, the Palestinian group, recently revealed that all efforts to agree on a ceasefire for the Gaza Strip have reached a standstill after Israel effectively denied a proposal that was put forth by the international mediators. This news was followed after the United Nations warned that aid for Gaza could grind to a halt within days due to Israel’s recent seizure of control over the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt, a vital route for supplies to the devastated Palestinian enclave.

Israel has stated that it will go forward with an attack on the southern Gaza city of Rafah, despite the intense pressure from the United States. The southern Gaza city of Rafah marks the region where more than 1 million displaced people have sought refuge and where Israeli forces believe Hamas militants are hiding. According to reports, the Israeli military has already effectively captured the main road that divides the eastern and western sections of the Gaza city of Rafah, encircling the eastern part of the city in an attack that has caused Washington to block some military aid to its ally.

In a statement, Hamas said, “Israel’s rejection of the mediators’ proposal through the amendments it made returned things to the first square.” The group further announced that it will hold consultations with Palestinian factions to review its strategy for negotiations on halting the seven-month-long war, which was triggered by Hamas’ deadly attack on Israel on Oct. 7.

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Residents of Rafah have have reportes almost constant explosions and gunfire, with intense fighting between Israeli forces and militants from Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Israel has ordered civilians out of the eastern part of the city, forcing tens of thousands of people to seek shelter outside Rafah, which previously served as the last refuge for more than a million who fled other parts of the enclave during the war.

Aid agencies warn that supplies are already running short, and operations could halt within days as fuel and food stocks are depleted. “For five days, no fuel and virtually no humanitarian aid entered the Gaza Strip, and we are scraping the bottom of the barrel,” said Hamish Young, the UNICEF Senior Emergency Coordinator in the Gaza Strip.

The possibility of a full blown attack on the city of Rafah has created one of the biggest rifts for generations between Israel and its closest ally, the United States.  The US has allegedly blocked all shipments of weapons to Israel for the first time since the war began. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated on Thursday that Israel would “fight with our fingernails” if necessary and expressed hope that disagreements with President Joe Biden would be resolved.