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Netanyahu Declines To Send Negotiators To Cairo For Hostage Talks-Axios


Axios has reported that PM Benjamin Netanyahu has declined to send a team of negotiators to follow-up talks in Cairo on a potential hostage deal. The talks, organised by Egypt and Qatar and due to resume 15 Feb, are intended to "make progress on issues unrelated to the main sticking point in the talks — the number of prisoners Hamas wants to be released — in order to create continuity and momentum for the negotiations." These talks were not intended to focus on the difficult subject of hostage/prisoner exchanges, but seek agreement on humanitarian aid for Gaza and the prospect of Palestinians returning to their residences in the north of the strip.

  • Axios reports intelligence chiefs encouraged the PM to send a delegation, but this advice was rejected "...largely because Netanyahu believes there is no point in further talks until Hamas agrees to soften its position on the number of prisoners it demands to be released as part of a deal..."
  • International focus remains on Israel potentially carrying out a military operation in the southern city of Rafah on the Egyptian border. With an estimated 1.2mn Palestnians in the city, Israel's allies and international organisations have sought to dissuade any significant military action in Rafah.

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