The date for peace talks has been up in the air as a cease-fire deal between Israel and Hamas leaders may be on the horizon. Hamas is considering a proposal that includes pauses in Israel’s military operations in Gaza and the release of hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners. The deal, drafted by officials from the United States, Qatar, Egypt, and Israel, awaits a response from the militant group.
On the other hand, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to continue the war until Israel secures “absolute victory” over Hamas. This comes after the release of over 100 hostages in exchange for 240 Palestinian prisoners during a weeklong cease-fire in November. The ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas group has led to thousands of deaths and an increasing humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
As the conflict escalates, Iran has announced its intention to respond strongly to any acts of aggression, although they also stated that they will not start a war. The United States has also continued its attacks on combat assets in parts of Yemen controlled by the rebel group Houthis.
In Iraq, an Iran-backed militia has declared their intention to continue targeting American troops in the Middle East, in response to recent drone strikes that killed three U.S. soldiers. Meanwhile, the Israeli military has turned its focus on the overcrowded city of Rafah in southern Gaza, where over 1 million civilians have sought refuge from bombardment and ground combat.
The situation in Gaza has become dire, with reports of widespread disease, food and water shortages, and a lack of adequate sewage infrastructure. Human rights groups have expressed concern about the well-being of the population in Rafah and the potential for further escalation of the crisis.