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Israel-Gaza Conflict | Prominent Israeli politician Benny Gantz holds talks with US officials

01:48 AM Mar 05, 2024 IST | GK NEWS SERVICE
israel gaza conflict   prominent israeli politician benny gantz holds talks with us officials
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New Delhi, Mar 4: Israeli war cabinet Minister Benny Gantz, a prominent political rival of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is currently engaged in discussions with high-ranking US officials, including Vice President Kamala Harris and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, during a three-day visit to Washington. Gantz's trip has stirred controversy within Israel.

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A close ally of Netanyahu and Minister of Regional Cooperation Dudi Amsalem criticized Gantz's visit, branding it "a total violation of government regulations" in a post on social media. Amsalem accused Gantz of hindering the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) from achieving victory in the ongoing conflict and speculated that Gantz aims to promote the establishment of a Palestinian state that would jeopardize Israel's existence, CNN reported.

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Reports from Israel's public broadcaster Kan suggested that Netanyahu was unaware of Gantz's plans and instructed the Israeli embassy in Washington not to facilitate the visit. However, Gantz's office countered these claims, asserting that Gantz personally informed Netanyahu about his trip to Washington over the weekend.

Background information reveals that Gantz's National Unity party has been gaining traction in opinion polls since the outbreak of the conflict, while Netanyahu's Likud party has experienced a decline in popularity.

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Despite initially being in opposition when Hamas launched an attack on Israel, Gantz agreed to join the government and assume a role in the newly formed war cabinet following the incident.

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Gantz arrived in Washington on Sunday and is slated to meet with several key figures on Monday and Tuesday, as outlined in his official itinerary. These meetings include discussions with National Security Council Coordinator for Middle East & Africa Brett McGurk, Vice President Harris, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, and Secretary of State Blinken.

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Israel's Absence Noted in Cairo Talks for Gaza Ceasefire

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Egyptian, Qatari, and US mediators are convening in Cairo to navigate stalled ceasefire discussions between Israel and a Palestinian delegation, amidst Israel's decision not to send its representatives.

Israel cited Hamas' failure to respond to its negotiation terms, while the Palestinian side insists on a permanent cessation of hostilities before addressing the release of detainees.

According to an Israeli official speaking to CNN on Sunday, Israel opted against sending a delegation to Egypt for ceasefire and hostage release talks due to Hamas' lack of response to two key demands.These demands include a comprehensive list of hostages, delineating those alive and deceased, as well as confirmation of the ratio of Palestinian prisoners to be freed from Israeli jails in exchange for hostages.

Meanwhile, the Hamas delegation arrived in Cairo for the negotiations, emphasizing that without Israel's commitment to a permanent ceasefire, they would not entertain discussions regarding the release of detainees, according to the source within the delegation quoted by CNN.

A senior official within the administration of US President Joe Biden indicated to reporters on Saturday that Israel had tentatively accepted a proposed six-week ceasefire in Gaza and was awaiting a response from the Hamas side.

Negotiators are striving to finalize the agreement before the onset of Ramadan, which commences in a week. Despite hopes expressed by President Biden earlier in the week for a ceasefire by the upcoming Monday, discrepancies persist, as officials from various parties caution against premature optimism, highlighting remaining differences in positions.

Anti-Tank Missile Hits Northern Israel, Killing One Foreign Worker and Injuring Seven

An anti-tank missile struck northern Israel on Monday, killing one foreign worker and leaving seven others injured, according to Israel's Magen David Adom (MDA) emergency rescue service.

The incident occurred in the Margaliot area, situated on the border with Lebanon, where the workers sustained injuries from shrapnel, as reported by MDA. While the origin of the missile was not explicitly stated by MDA, recent weeks have seen a surge in missile and artillery fire directed at the region from Lebanon.

MDA further disclosed that two of the individuals injured in the Monday morning attack are in critical condition. Among the victims were at least two Thai workers, although the specifics of their conditions were not provided by MDA.

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