The Islamist Hamas says it is sending another delegation to Egypt to conclude the ongoing, indirect negotiations with Israel on an agreement to release hostages and a ceasefire. Hamas’s foreign chief, Ismail Haniya, said this to Egyptian intelligence chief Abbas Kamel in a phone call, the extremist organization said. Haniya emphasized Hamas’s “positive spirit” when examining the latest proposal for an agreement. Hamas wants a deal that meets the demands of the Palestinian people.

Egyptian state-affiliated television channel Al-Kahira News, citing a senior Egyptian source, reported that a Hamas delegation would arrive in Cairo within the next two days to continue negotiations.

Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip is skeptical about the offer

As part of mediation efforts in Cairo, Hamas was presented with a proposal for a ceasefire in return for the release of hostages. According to a media report, the leader of the Islamist Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Jihia al-Sinwar, does not trust the latest offer of negotiations. The draft contains no guarantee that the war will end, a source close to the Hamas leader told Israel’s Channel 12 television on Wednesday evening. Israel rejects an end to the war.

According to al-Sinwar, the proposal contains a number of pitfalls. There is no guarantee that the war will end, a source close to the Hamas leader told the Israeli television station Channel 12. It is not an offer from the Egyptian mediators, but an Israeli one “in American garb.” Statements by Hamas leaders in exile should not be viewed as official positions of Hamas, Al-Sinwar’s confidant told the Israeli TV station.

Israel threatens to launch a ground offensive in Rafah

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu privately told US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that Israel would begin a ground offensive in Rafah, southern Gaza, if Hamas continued to make a hostage deal conditional on ending the war, the Axios news portal reported. citing two Israeli and American officials. Blinken had spoken of a “very, very generous” proposal from Israel for a deal. Hamas has so far insisted on an end to the war, which Israel rejects.

The Israeli government has announced a rapid start to the controversial offensive in Rafah on the border with Egypt if an agreement is not reached. Hundreds of thousands of civilians have sought protection in the city. Blinken said in Tel Aviv: “We are committed to reaching a ceasefire that brings the hostages home, now.

And the only reason why this couldn’t be achieved is because of Hamas.” There is a proposal on the table. “And as we said, no delays, no excuses.” According to Channel 12, the Hamas leader is hesitant in Gaza, Al-Sinwar, however, according to his confidant, he claims to make all decisions regarding the Gaza war alone.

New military intelligence director has been chosen

Following the announcement of the resignation of the director of Israel’s military intelligence service, Israel’s army has announced his successor. General Schlomi Binder will take over the position, the military said. His predecessor Aharon Haliva announced his resignation around a week and a half ago. He justified the move by saying it was a way of fulfilling his leadership responsibilities after the Hamas massacre on October 7th. After the terrorist attack, Haliva said he was responsible for the mistakes that made it possible.

Israel’s military also announced further new appointments to the General Staff. The appointments were agreed after a “lengthy process” by Israel’s Defense Minister Joav Galant and Chief of General Staff Herzi Halevi. The new appointments were met with criticism by some Israeli MPs. They insisted that they should wait until the end of the Gaza war. Israel’s right-wing extremist police minister even called for the defense minister to resign after the announcement.

The news site ynet wrote that the new appointments could deepen the rift between the political leadership and the security establishment. According to reports, dissatisfaction is growing within the army that the government is not developing a future plan for the Gaza Strip. This endangers the war goals such as the long-term destruction of Hamas, also because the power vacuum as a result of a lack of a plan for the coastal area favors the resurgence of the Islamist organization.

Scholz talks to Netanyahu on the phone

Chancellor Olaf Scholz once again discussed the situation and future prospects in the Middle East region with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The deputy spokesman for the federal government, Wolfgang Büchner, said in Berlin that Scholz and Netanyahu had also discussed efforts to release all hostages who are still in the hands of the Islamist Hamas, as well as a ceasefire, in a telephone conversation. Further improvements in humanitarian aid for the people in the Gaza Strip were also an issue. Details about the content of the conversation were not disclosed.

Fighting in Gaza continues

The Israeli army said fighter jets and artillery had “attacked armed terrorists, terrorist infrastructure and tunnel entrances” in the central section of the Gaza Strip the previous day. There had previously been several attacks on Israeli soldiers. A mortar grenade launcher was destroyed. Several armed fighters were killed.

Al-Sinwar is considered one of the architects of the massacre

Israel suspects that Al-Sinwar is in the Hamas tunnel network under the Gaza Strip and has surrounded himself with hostages for his own protection. The underground system represents an enormous challenge for Israel’s army in the Gaza war, which has been going on for around seven months.

Israel considers Al-Sinwar to be one of the architects of the October 7 massacre in the Israeli border area. It was the trigger for the war. Israel now wants to destroy the last remaining Hamas battalions in Rafah. “The idea that we stop the war before all its goals have been achieved is out of the question,” said Prime Minister Netanyahu. He is under strong pressure from his right-wing extremist coalition partners, who recently threatened to end the government if the now proposed hostage deal was implemented and the planned operation in Rafah was called off. Netanyahu’s political survival depends on them.