Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will convene Israel's Security Cabinet at 7pm local time (12pm ET) on Thursday to discuss the military operation in Gaza and the possibility of a ceasefire.
Why it matters: Any ceasefire would require the approval of the Security Cabinet, and senior Israeli officials expect an agreement by this weekend.
- Yes, but: Netanyahu has resisted international pressure toward a ceasefire so far. In an apparent signal that he wouldn't be rushed, Netanyahu canceled a planned Cabinet meeting on Wednesday after President Biden urged him to move towards a ceasefire.
The state of play: The ceasefire talks are moving on two tracks: Egyptian intelligence officials are talking to Netanyahu's office and to Hamas leadership in Gaza; while UN envoy Tor Wennesland is talking to Hamas political leadership abroad.
- Wennesland arrived in Qatar on Wednesday for talks with Hamas officials.
Driving the news: Both sides have intensified their attacks in anticipation of a ceasefire. Gaza health officials said on Thursday that 230 Palestinians had been killed since the beginning of the crisis, with 1,710 wounded.
What they're saying: A diplomatic source told me the UN was "actively engaged with all the relevant parties in order to de-escalate the situation on the ground."
- A senior Israeli official said he thinks a breakthrough towards a ceasefire could take place in the next 24 hours. Netanyahu's office declined to comment.
- Hamas official Musa Abu Marzouk said Wednesday that he expects the talks to produce a ceasefire within a day or two.
What to watch: Hamas officials have called on Israel to end police "incursions" into the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, or Temple Mount, and stop the evictions of Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem as part of a ceasefire.
- Israel refuses to discuss any agreement that would link the Gaza conflict to Jerusalem, sources familiar with the talks tell me.