Qatar brokers deal between Egypt, Hamas and Israel for limited Gaza evacuations
Egypt, Israel and Hamas have come to an agreement allowing limited evacuations out of Gaza and into Egypt through the Rafah crossing following negotiations this week.
Qatari officials mediated the talks and came to the agreement early Wednesday. The deal allows for foreign passport holders and some critically injured Gaza residents to evacuate, though no timeline has been set for how long the crossing will remain open, a source briefed on the deal told Reuters.
Dozens of foreign passport holders reportedly could be seen entering the crossing Wednesday morning in evidence of the deal.
The negotiations came as the Israeli military has been carrying out the second stage of its war against Hamas. The Israel Defense Forces have greatly expanded ground operations in Gaza, clearing Hamas terrorists out of their fortified positions and tunnels.
Military officials have warned that the campaign will be a long and difficult affair. So far, at least 12 Israeli soldiers have been killed in the fighting.
The Rafah crossing has remained largely closed throughout most of the fighting since Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre in Israel. Israel and Egypt have only allowed it to open briefly for a handful of aid convoys traveling into Gaza.
Israeli leaders have vowed to destroy Hamas in Gaza entirely. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed calls for a cease-fire in a speech on Monday.
‘Calls for a cease-fire are calls for Israel to surrender to Hamas, to surrender to terrorism, to surrender to barbarism. That will not happen,’ Netanyahu said.
‘Ladies and gentlemen, the Bible says that there is a time for peace and a time for war. This is a time for war – a war for our common future,’ he continued. ‘Today, we draw a line between the forces of civilization and the forces of barbarism. It is a time for everyone to decide where they stand. Israel will stand against the forces of barbarism until victory. I hope and pray that civilized nations everywhere will back this fight.’
Netanyahu also said Monday that the ‘horrors that Hamas perpetrated on Oct. 7 remind us that we will not realize the promise of a better future unless we, the civilized world, are willing to fight the barbarians.’
As of early Wednesday, as many as 9,900 people have been killed in the war on both sides, including at least 1,400 Israeli civilians and soldiers and 32 Americans.
Reuters and the Associated Press contributed to this report.