June 23, 2024

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US Counselor Jake Sullivan is in Israel for ceasefire talks

US Counselor Jake Sullivan is in Israel for ceasefire talks

Comment on the photo, Jake Sullivan is in Israel to discuss a potential ceasefire agreement

US President Joe Biden’s National Security Advisor is holding talks in Israel as part of a new effort to reach a ceasefire agreement in Gaza.

Jake Sullivan met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday afternoon.

His visit comes at a time when Israeli forces continue their military operations in Gaza, including the city of Rafah, located in the far south.

The city was evacuated by hundreds of thousands of people after an order from Israeli forces.

Sullivan is expected to push Israel to avoid launching a large-scale attack on the city of Rafah. The United States had previously said that it would stop supplying some weapons if Israel launched a major ground attack on the city.

But an Israeli official told Reuters news agency that Netanyahu and his senior aides will try to reach an agreement with Sullivan on the need for a full incursion into Rafah.

Before arriving in Israel, Sullivan also visited Saudi Arabia, where he held talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. According to Saudi official media, they discussed ways to boost aid supplies to Gaza and how to achieve a Palestinian state.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) said that fighting continues throughout the Gaza Strip, and that more than 800,000 Palestinians have left the city of Rafah, after an Israeli warning against evacuation.

Discussions took place in the past about a possible ceasefire, but to no avail.

Earlier this month, Hamas supported the proposal presented by Egyptian and Qatari mediators. But Israel said that the proposal accepted by Hamas was not the same proposal it had already accepted.

Israel also rejected a proposal for a “permanent” ceasefire and said that releasing bodies instead of hostages was unacceptable.

Israel launched a military campaign in Gaza to destroy Hamas in response to the group’s attack on southern Israel last year, during which about 1,200 people were killed and 252 others were taken hostage.

Benny Gantz, Israel’s Defense Minister, has threatened to resign unless Netanyahu sets out a post-war plan for the Gaza Strip. Gantz set June 8 as the deadline for a plan to achieve six “strategic goals,” including ending Hamas rule in Gaza and establishing a multinational civil administration for the Strip.

More than 35,456 people have been killed in Gaza since then, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry in the Strip.