NewsIsrael-Hamas ceasefire talks falter as Red Sea crisis escalates

Israel-Hamas ceasefire talks falter as Red Sea crisis escalates

Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu
Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu
Images source: © X
10:56 AM EST, March 4, 2024

Planned discussions in Cairo on Sunday, intended to negotiate a six-week cease-fire in the Gaza Strip, saw delegates from Hamas and representatives from the USA and Qatar, all expected to serve as mediators, arrive. However, Israel's representative was notably absent. Tel Aviv has stated this stance will remain unchanged until the Palestinian organization provides a list of living hostages, currently about 130 people.

This situation makes it increasingly likely that Israel might escalate military actions during Ramadan, starting March 10, potentially targeting the cities of Rafah, home to approximately 1.5 million people.

As the prospect of a truce dwindles, so does the hope of resolving the crisis in the Red Sea. This issue involves significant disruptions to the vital global trade route through the Suez Canal caused by Yemeni Houthi fighters attacking ships in the Bab al-Mandab Strait.

Beyond extended delivery times by sea and soaring transportation costs impacting Europe, recent Houthi attacks resulted in the sinking of a bulk carrier, loaded with over 46,297 pounds of artificial fertilizers, threatening the Red Sea's natural ecosystem.

Is the USA Losing Patience with Israel?

Houthi fighters vow to continue their assaults until a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip is announced and Israeli troops withdraw. The United States, with presidential elections on the horizon, is notably increasing pressure for a ceasefire. It's worth noting that the USA is attempting to safeguard commercial ships in the Red Sea, albeit with limited success.

US Vice President Kamala Harris called for an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip on Sunday, urging Israel to enhance humanitarian aid to the region's residents. Notably, the death toll there has surpassed 30,000, with around 1,200 fatalities recorded in a single Hamas attack on October 7.

Reuter highlights that this is among the sternest criticisms directed at Israel by senior US government officials.

Israeli Military Accused of Rape and Torture

The United Nations Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) is set to release a report detailing allegations that Palestinians detained by the Israeli military in temporary Israeli centers were subject to regular torture, as reported by "The New York Times".

The accounts come from men and women ranging in age from six to 82 years, including individuals with intellectual disabilities, cancer, and Alzheimer's disease.

It's alleged that the torture aimed to extort confessions, humiliate, and "punish" detainees for supposed links to Hamas, although many of these accusations later proved baseless, according to "NYT".

The Israeli military has denied all allegations. The Netanyahu administration maintains that the international pressure for a ceasefire aims at Israel's defeat.

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