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U.S. seeks ceasefire to pave way for end to Gaza war - WSJ

U.S. seeks ceasefire to pave way for end to Gaza war - WSJ U.S. seeks ceasefire to pave way for end to fighting (Photo: Getty Images)

American lawmakers insist on reaching a ceasefire agreement that could halt the war in the Gaza Strip long enough to suspend Israeli military actions and possibly lay the foundation for a more extended truce, according to The Wall Street Journal.

According to American and Arab officials familiar with the progress of the negotiations, Israel and Hamas are considering the possibility of a three-part agreement, including the release of hostages in Gaza, starting with a six-week ceasefire.

According to the draft agreement developed this week by the heads of international intelligence in Paris, further stages should also involve a cessation of hostilities and the release of more hostages.

U.S. negotiators led by CIA Director William Burns argue that it will be challenging for Israel to resume the war with the current intensity after a long break, say officials.

The U.S. has also informed negotiating partners that Israel is considering transitioning to a phase – after the release of all hostages – during which major operations will be more limited, including airstrikes on Gaza, added officials.

"The White House is looking into 'an extended pause in fighting... longer than what we saw in November," said White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby.

Kirby said that the Biden administration hopes that all parties will agree to a cessation of hostilities, allowing the evacuation of hostages from Gaza and delivering more humanitarian aid there.

The Israel-Hamas war

On October 7, 2023, Hamas militants began a military attack on Israel from the Gaza Strip. In the first few days, radical Islamists killed 1,200 civilians and soldiers and kidnapped about 250 people.

At the end of October, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) began a ground military operation in the Gaza Strip. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that the goal of the operation was the destruction of Hamas's operational and governmental capabilities, as well as the release of hostages.

In November, as a result of negotiations on a hostage exchange, Hamas released about 120 people, and Israel released a group of Palestinian prisoners. However, later, the parties resumed active military operations in the region.

Subsequently, the IDF launched a new major offensive in the western part of Khan Yunis in southern Gaza. Large-scale combat actions accompany the operation.

On January 25, it became known that director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) William Burns would travel to Europe to work on a new agreement on the release of hostages in the Gaza Strip.