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Gaza and Israel: peace options as the truce continues

Mediators are trying to cement a cease-fire between Gaza and Israel after 11 days of the war. An Egyptian team visited Israel on Saturday, while US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken may visit the region next week.

Both Israel and Hamas declared victory in the recent conflict. Over 250 people were killed, the majority of whom were in Gaza.

After weeks of rising tensions culminating in clashes at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem, the battle began on 10 May. After warning Israel to leave the site, Hamas started firing missiles and triggering retaliatory airstrikes.

“The conflict opened the door to new stages that will witness many victories,” said Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas leader.

On the first day of the truce, Israelis distributed flowers in the southern city of Ashkelon. On Saturday, the cease-fire entered its second day, and it is still going on, but the terms remain vague.

Israel plainly stated that it had agreed to a reciprocal and unconditional cease-fire.

Egypt, Qatar, the United States, and the United Nations have contributed to the armistice negotiations.

The UN Security Council released its first statement on the conflict on Saturday, praising the mediators and urging “absolute adherence to the cease-fire.”

Teams of Egyptian mediators will hold talks on Saturday with the Israeli government and Palestinian leaders in Gaza and the occupied West Bank.

Simultaneously, humanitarian assistance convoys have arrived in Gaza. More trucks arrived at the Kerem Shalom border crossing between Israel and Gaza on Saturday. From Egypt, a convoy of 130 vehicles is to cross. Yet, the World Health Organization has warned that Gaza’s health facilities are still at risk of being overwhelmed by the thousands of injured.

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