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Efforts to attain ceasefire deal in Gaza underway as death toll rises to 31

Senior Israeli officials said Sunday that Israel is dealing with Egypt and the UN on a thorough ceasefire deal in Gaza, because the death toll from the fighting climbed to a lot more than 30.

Why it matters: Israel feels it has achieved the objectives of the operation including killing two Islamic Jihad commanders and really wants to end it prior to the situation on the floor further deteriorates and draws Hamas in to the fighting, the officials said.

  • Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said in a gathering with mayors of towns near Gaza on Sunday that the operation has achieved its goals and there is absolutely no point in continuing it.

Behind the scenes: Egyptian intelligence officials and UN diplomats started the meditation efforts for a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza on Saturday night, Israeli officials and Western diplomats told Axios.

  • These were close to obtaining a deal overnight for a ceasefire that could start at 8am local time on Sunday. However the talks were derailed when Israel received information that the Islamic Jihad was planning another round of attacks each morning hours. This became evident a long time later once the Islamic Jihad fired several rockets toward Jerusalem.
  • Israeli officials said the mediation efforts resumed on Sunday morning, but Israel clarified that it’s not thinking about just a humanitarian ceasefire, but wants a thorough one.

Tareq Silmi, the spokesperson for the Islamic Jihad’s political wing, initially said the group had not been negotiating a ceasefire and would avenge the death of its commanders. But he later said that there have been efforts underway by Egypt to get rid of the fighting and restore calm.

  • Ismail Haniya, the top of Hamas’ political bureau, said the business is following a ceasefire efforts.
  • Hamas, which controls Gaza, continues to be not getting involved in the fighting, and Western diplomats who spoke with Hamas officials said the business wants a ceasefire as quickly as possible.

State of play: A source with direct understanding of the negotiations told Axios that officials “are heading towards a ceasefire in Gaza,” however the exact time was not finalized yet.

The picture as a whole: Several children and women were on the list of 31 Palestinians who’ve been killed because the fighting began on Friday. Some were killed by Israeli airstrikes, while Israel says others were killed by failed Islamic Jihad rockets that landed in Gaza.

  • Of the a lot more than 600 rockets fired by Islamic Jihad from Gaza, about 20-30% landed in the Gaza Strip, the Israeli military said.
  • About 97% of the rockets that crossed into Israel were intercepted by the Iron Dome system, the IDF said.

Driving the news headlines: Throughout a meeting of the Israeli security cabinet on Saturday night, Shin Bet director Ronen Bar told the ministers that Islamic Jihad got hit hard in Gaza and today was enough time to get rid of to the operation, two ministers who attended the meeting told Axios.

  • The ministers added that Bar said Israel had a need to end the operation in order to avoid potential mistakes which could result in a wider conflict that Israel will not want.
  • The Shin Bet director told the ministers that the Gaza operation achieved more objectives than it had been intended to and can influence other arenas in your community.
  • He claimed the operation were able to develop a separation between Hamas and Islamic Jihad, that is an Israeli strategic goal, the ministers said.
  • Senior Israeli officials said that Bar’s recommendation represented the entire thinking about all cabinet ministers and security officials in the meeting.
  • “Everybody thinks we ought to end the operation however the conditions because of this haven’t matured yet,” a senior Israeli official said.

It is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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