Defense Minister of Israel unveils Gaza withdrawal plan

Defense Minister of Israel unveils Gaza withdrawal plan

Shafaq News/ US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and his Israeli counterpart Yoav Galant engaged in discussions regarding the Israeli army's planned withdrawal from parts of the Gaza Strip and ongoing investigations into the killing of relief workers, as stated by a Pentagon announcement.

The Pentagon highlighted Austin and Galant's focus "on the urgent need to dramatically increase humanitarian assistance delivery to Gaza, including by implementing steps approved by the Israeli War Cabinet."

In their conversation, the ministers delved into "the Israel Defense Forces' (IDF) investigation of the tragic strike on World Central Kitchen humanitarian aid workers and the need for procedural changes to ensure such incidents never happen again," emphasizing the importance of procedural revisions to prevent the recurrence of such incidents.

Additionally, the Pentagon noted Galant's briefing on the Israeli army's withdrawal from Gaza segments and the future trajectory of Israel's campaign against Hamas.

"Secretary Austin voiced his commitment to supporting the unconditional return of all hostages and expressed hope that ongoing negotiations would produce a pause in hostilities."

The US Secretary of Defense also reaffirmed the United States' "unwavering support for Israel's defense, for Israel's defense in light of threats posed by Iran and its proxy network."

This development comes after the complications in negotiations between Tel Aviv and Hamad with a Qatari-Egyptian mediation.

Both Israel and Hamas dispatched teams to Egypt on Sunday for talks involving Qatari and Egyptian mediators, as well as CIA Director William Burns.

The new Israeli proposal was unsatisfactory for the Palestinian Movement. However, the group stated that it would examine it, characterized as "intransigent," and communicate its response to the mediators.

The proposal includes three stages; the initial stage involves releasing 42 Israeli hostages (including soldiers, children, and elderly individuals) in exchange for 800 to 900 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons, including roughly a hundred serving lengthy sentences, including life imprisonment, as explained by an anonymous source close to the negotiations.

This stage also encompasses facilitating the return of displaced Palestinian civilians to northern Gaza, with 400 to 500 aid trucks allowed entry daily.

The second stage entails the release of all remaining hostages.

The third and final stage calls for a complete Israeli army withdrawal from Gaza and the lifting of the blockade imposed by Israel on the territory since Hamas's 2007 takeover.

Israel estimates that Gaza currently holds 129 hostages, including 34 who have died."

Now, concerns are raised after the Israeli side insists on evading Rafah.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced that a date has been scheduled for a ground offensive in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, home to approximately 1.4 million displaced Palestinians seeking shelter.

"It will happen. There is a date," Netanyahu declared in a video statement.

Despite the historical alliance and the unwavering Amercian support for Israel, Washington reiterates its opposition to a full-scale ground invasion, calling for a credible plan to protect civilians.

The death toll among Palestinians due to the war has exceeded 33,200, with almost 76,000 individuals wounded, according to Gaza's Health Ministry.

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