Hamas talks up a truce, but Israel may still invade Rafah

S HORTLY BEFORE nine in the morning of May 6th, blue and red leaflets began fluttering down over the city of Rafah in southern Gaza. The Israel Defence Forces ( IDF ) was warning those in the city’s eastern suburbs and neighbourhoods that it was planning to “operate” there and urged them to evacuate to a “humanitarian zone”, five or six kilometres away, near the coast.

That evening Hamas announced that it would accept an Egyptian proposal for a temporary ceasefire and would in return release 33 of the Israeli hostages it is holding in Gaza. This was met with scepticism in Israel. Government sources claimed that Hamas had not accepted the original compromise that Israel had tentatively agreed to. Instead, Israel says that Hamas has added further conditions and is trying to portray the Israelis as the naysayers. Nevertheless, Israel is planning to send a delegation for another round of talks in Cairo to discuss the details of how the agreement could be implemented.

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