Egypt, Qatar and the UN are struggling to make progress on their effort to move toward a ceasefire in Gaza.
Why it matters: The fighting in Gaza has entered its 10th day. Gaza health ministry reported 219 Palestinians have been killed since the beginning of the crisis, at least half of them civilians.
Driving the news: Hamas continued to fire rockets towards Israel on Wednesday but the numbers decreased and the rocket fire focused on towns and cities in Southern Israel. Israeli officials say Hamas started rationing its rockets fearing the fighting could continue for a longer period than expected.
- Israeli air force airstrikes in Gaza focused Wednesday on the homes of Hamas and Islamic Jihad field commanders and on parts of the Hamas tunnel system.
- Israeli officials say the Biden administration is increasing its pressure to end the military operation in Gaza.
- U.S. Secretary of Defense Austin spoke to his counterpart Benny Gantz on Tuesday. Israeli official said Austin focused for the first time much more on the need for de-escalation than on Israel’s right to defend itself.
The state of play: Egypt presented to Israel and Hamas a proposal for a basic ceasefire which will be based on “quiet for quiet," Israeli officials said.
- Hamas officials told Egypt they are ready for a ceasefire but want Israel to take steps regarding the situation in Jerusalem, sources familiar with the talks told me. Israel refuses to discuss this or to create any linkage between the Gaza conflict and Jerusalem.
- Israeli officials said they think the ceasefire talks could gain momentum in the next 24 hours but stressed they are concerned such a ceasefire will be fragile and could collapse quickly.
What they are saying: “We don’t stand with a timer. We want to achieve the goals of the operation. Previous operations lasted a long time so it is not possible to set a time frame on the operation," Netanyahu said in a briefing to foreign ambassadors on Wednesday.
What’s next: The Israeli security cabinet is expected to convene on Wednesday to discuss the ceasefire talks.
- In New York negotiations on a French led draft UN security council resolution that calls for a ceasefire are expected to start.
- On Thursday the UN general assembly will convene to discuss the Gaza crisis. It is unclear if the meeting will include a vote on a non-binding resolution.