Gaza temporary truce 'possible' for Eid al-Fitr, Egyptian sources reveal, as talks take place

Gaza temporary truce 'possible' for Eid al-Fitr, Egyptian sources reveal, as talks take place
Gaza, which has witnessed death and destruction in six months of war, could see a temporary truce granted for Eid al-Fitr, according to sources in Egypt.
3 min read
07 April, 2024
Egypt shares a border with Gaza via the Rafah crossing, which is the territory's only way of contact with the outside world [Getty/file photo]

A temporary truce could be reached in Gaza in time for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, Egyptian security sources have said, as the enclave marks six months of brutal war that has left at least 33,175 people killed.

With the presence of a Hamas delegation and CIA chief William Burns in Cairo, an agreement is "strongly approaching with the possibility that the announcement will be made from Cairo", the sources told The New Arab’s Arabic-language site Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.

An Israeli delegation is also present in the Egyptian capital, with Mossad chief David Barnea reportedly involved in the negotiations.

Should the truce happen, it would mark the second of its kind in Gaza. A temporary ceasefire between Israel and Hamas was agreed on in late November last year, which saw the release of a number of Israeli hostages and Palestinian prisoners before Israel resumed its indiscriminate war.

A senior Hamas leader, Bassem Naim, told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that "expectations are still open to all options", and that Hamas hopes "the failure which befell Netanyahu and his government over the course of six months, as well as the internal and external pressure, will push us to go to a comprehensive ceasefire and the withdrawal of all forces from inside the Gaza Strip."

Egyptian officials reportedly conveyed to the Hamas leadership the "necessity of seizing the US shift in policy against Israel", which has been amplified by the death of seven aid workers earlier this week, the source added.

"All parties showed flexibility in the possibility of concluding a partial agreement with a temporary humanitarian truce for several days on Eid al-Fitr, outside the framework of the main agreement negotiations," the Egyptian source said.

Naim, while agreeing that there has been a shift in attitude towards the war in Gaza, said: "This is true, but the change is still too little to bring about the desired change," adding that on an official level "the change is still tactical and not strategic".

On Sunday, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi discussed the joint Egyptian, Qatari, and American efforts to "establish a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, where developments in the field situation were reviewed, as well as the need for intensified efforts to calm the situation and stop the military escalation".

Sisi also stressed the need for intensive international efforts to deliver aid to the whole of Gaza, as hunger and starvation still threaten the population.

Another Egyptian source added that the US administration is "under pressure to reach an urgent humanitarian truce" in Gaza following what they described as a "paradigmatic shift" in Washington’s position regarding Israel following the killing of the World Central Kitchen aid workers.

Egypt, alongside Qatar and the US, has mediated in numerous truce talks between Israel and Hamas since the start of the war on October 7. Egypt also shares a border with the Gaza Strip, and has faced criticism for refusing to indefinitely open the Rafah border crossing, which would allow for more aid delivery.

At least 33,175 people have been killed in the Gaza Strip as of Sunday, mostly women and children, with increasing international pressure for a permanent ceasefire.