Talks on Gaza cease-fire and freeing more hostages as Hamas leader is in Egypt

The top leader of Hamas was in Egypt for talks Wednesday on halting the war in Gaza and securing the release of at least some of the estimated 129 Israeli captives held by Palestinian militants.


Hamas said that Haniyeh, who is believed to be based in Qatar, would discuss the war with Egyptian officials, without providing more details.

At the U.N. Security Council, diplomats are negotiating for the third day on a resolution to pause the fighting and allow desperately needed humanitarian aid deliveries.

The United Nations Security Council is trying to avoid another veto by the United States, the U.N. Security Council postponed voting for the second day in a row on an Arab-sponsored resolution that would deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza during some form of halt in the fighting.

Security Council members remained in intense negotiations Tuesday, as the United States has asked for more time. Talks were ongoing in an effort to get the Biden administration to abstain or vote in favor of the resolution.

Initially planned for Monday, the vote has been pushed back until Wednesday.

The draft resolution on the table Monday morning had called for an “urgent and sustainable cessation of hostilities,” but this language was watered down in a new draft circulated early Tuesday.

It now “calls for the urgent suspension of hostilities to allow safe and unhindered humanitarian access, and for urgent steps towards a sustainable cessation of hostilities.” The United States in the past has opposed language on a cessation of hostilities.

The draft also calls for the U.N. to establish a mechanism for monitoring the aid deliveries. This could be problematic because it bypasses the current Israeli inspection of aid entering Gaza.

U.S. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said Tuesday afternoon, when the vote was still set for 5 p.m. EST: “We’re still working through the modalities of the resolution.”

He said: “It’s important for us that the rest of the world understand what’s at stake here and what Hamas did on the 7th of October and how Israel has a right to defend itself against those threats.”

Nearly 20,000 Palestinians have been killed since Israel declared war on Hamas, according to the Health Ministry in Gaza, which does not differentiate between civilian and combatant deaths. Thousands more lie buried under the rubble of Gaza, the U.N. estimates. Israel says more than 130 of its soldiers have died in its ground offensive after Hamas raided southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing about 1,200 people — mostly civilians — and taking about 240 hostages.

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