Pressure over ceasefire grows as conditions worsen for Palestinians in Gaza

Pressure Over Ceasefire Grows As Conditions Worsen For Palestinians In Gaza
Aid groups said it has become nearly impossible to deliver supplies within most of Gaza. Photo: PA Images
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AP Reporters

International pressure is growing for Israel and Hamas to reach a ceasefire deal after nearly five months of fighting left much of Gaza in ruins, creating a worsening humanitarian catastrophe with many people scrambling for food to survive.

The US, Qatar and Egypt have spent weeks trying to broker an agreement in which Hamas would release up to 40 hostages in return for a six-week ceasefire, the release of some Palestinian prisoners and an major influx of aid to the isolated territory.


But the talks have so far failed to achieve a breakthrough.

On Tuesday, US president Joe Biden said: “We must get more aid into Gaza. There’s no excuse. None.”

Aid groups say it has become nearly impossible to deliver supplies within most of Gaza because of the difficulty of co-ordinating with the Israeli military, the ongoing hostilities and the breakdown of public order.


Israel launched its offensive after Hamas-led militants stormed across the border on October 7th, killing some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and abducting around 250.

More than 100 hostages were released in November in exchange for 240 Palestinians imprisoned by Israel.

The overall Palestinian death toll is more than 30,700, according to Gaza’s health ministry. It does not differentiate between civilians and combatants in its figures, but says women and children make up around two-thirds of the total casualties. It says more than 72,000 people have been injured.



Meanwhile, a Cypriot government spokesman has said European Union Commission president Ursula von der Leyen will visit Cyprus to inspect installations at the port of Larnaca, from where it is hoped ships loaded with humanitarian aid will soon depart for Gaza.

Constantinos Letymbiotis told reporters that Cypriot president Nikos Christodoulides will join Ms von der Leyen on her inspection of the port on Friday.

Mr Letymbiotis said interest over the Cypriot initiative to ship a steady stream of aid in large quantities to the Palestinian enclave some 240 miles away has gained traction, both within the EU and among other countries.

EU spokesman Eric Mamer said the bloc is hopeful that the corridor’s opening “will take place very soon”.

EU Commission spokesman Balazs Ujvari said the maritime corridor could augment the bloc’s efforts to deliver more aid to Palestinians in Gaza. Another possibility is to organise air drops, but this would be a last resort and cannot replace ground access to the enclave “which remains absolutely essential”.

Mr Ujvari said the EU has so far carried out around 40 flights to deliver aid to Gaza, primarily through Egypt.

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