Talks in the French capital, Paris, aimed at achieving a ceasefire in Gaza are on hold as Israel’s war cabinet mulls over the proposal from Hamas. The Paris Peace Talks involved Israel’s Mossad Intelligence Head David Barnea, Egyptian Spy Chief Abbas Kamel, CIA Head William Burns, and Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani.

The intensified diplomatic efforts aim to find a resolution and prevent a possible Israeli military offensive on Gaza’s southernmost city, Rafah. The situation is critical as negotiators work against the backdrop of the upcoming Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The Israeli delegation reportedly departed Paris by Saturday morning to brief Israel’s war cabinet, temporarily halting the ongoing talks. Israeli media reported significant progress, but specific details of the advancements were not disclosed.

However, Hamas representatives said there was no progress and blamed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s stubbornness for the lack of advancement. The status of the negotiations and the differing accounts from both sides create uncertainty about the potential for a ceasefire deal.

The Paris Peace Talks also focused on the release of 136 hostages. The negotiators discussed the possibility for the exchange of Palestinians held by Israel and the facilitation of aid into Gaza, intended for both civilian and military captives. Israeli officials reported that at least 31 hostages are dead.

Qatar’s Sheikh Mohammed pointed out the danger of the evolving situation in Rafah at the Munich Security Conference. A minister from Israel’s war cabinet hinted at the possibility of a ground offensive by Ramadan if no agreement is reached.

A former Israeli peace negotiator, Daniel Levy, suggested that Israel is cautious not to be blamed for the collapse of talks. There are indications that negotiations might be used to buy time and avoid an immediate ground offensive in Rafah. US negotiators push for progress on various details within the talks despite significant disagreements on issues such as a permanent ceasefire or the release of high-profile Palestinian captives.

A representative from Hamas noted that the Palestinian side feels they have nothing left to lose due to the extensive destruction in Gaza. They express confidence in their armed wing’s ability to continue fighting. Hamas seeks a prisoner swap of 500 Palestinian detainees for every Israeli soldier held in Gaza. Their broader demands, including an immediate ceasefire, the complete withdrawal of Israeli troops, and humanitarian aid to the north, remain unchanged. The representative stressed that no exchange would occur without Israel fulfilling these requests.

After the United States vetoed a third ceasefire resolution in the UN Security Council last week, an alternative resolution has now been circulated, proposing a temporary ceasefire and a block on Israeli attacks on Rafah. The fate of this alternative resolution remains uncertain, with discussions ongoing behind the scenes. It is unclear when or if it will be formally introduced.

Arab states are undecided on the merits of the alternative resolution. Russia and China are expected to block it, arguing it falls short of an immediate ceasefire. The United Kingdom abstained, aligning more closely with other council members calling for an immediate suspension of hostilities, in contrast to the US stance that a ceasefire should be negotiated by the parties involved.

The US believes that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is considering options between hostage negotiations and an assault on Rafah, with a decision expected later. Despite warnings from US President Joe Biden against a ground invasion without a civilian protection plan, officials see no signs of Israel allowing a humanitarian strategy for displaced Gazans.

White House National Security Spokesperson John Kirby pointed out that there has been no presented plan for Rafah operations, and the US would not support such operations without adequate consideration for the safety of the population.

The Biden administration has expressed frustration over Israel’s limited cooperation in humanitarian efforts and Prime Minister Netanyahu’s exclusion of the Palestinian Authority in Gaza’s post-conflict plan. Despite this frustration, there is no indication that the US is currently using its powerful leverage, such as threatening to halt the flow of arms and ammunition to Israel. Reports suggest a new shipment of about a thousand MK-82 bombs and bomb components in the pipeline for Israel.

Fewer than 35 aid trucks enter Gaza on average per day since Monday, according to the UN agency.

A Gaza-based paediatrician, Moaz Al Majida, reported effects on nursing mothers, citing difficulties in lactation. Al Majida also noted that children in Gaza consume food lacking essential nutrients for their growth. An analysis by UNICEF and other aid organisations reveals a significant increase in malnutrition among children, pregnant women, and breastfeeding mothers in the Gaza Strip. UNICEF’s Deputy Executive Director, Ted Chaiban, warned of a potential surge in preventable child deaths in Gaza.

Apart from the relentless attacks on Gaza, Israeli forces conducted a raid on Hebron in the occupied West Bank. Eight Palestinians were beaten and interrogated during the raid. Verified videos on Telegram show Israeli forces arrest individuals in the Al-Jaber neighbourhood of Hebron, accompanied by the sound of gunfire as they entered Hebron’s Bani Naim neighbourhood at dawn on Sunday.

As Israel continues its war on Gaza, the toll on the Palestinian side continues to rise, with at least 29,606 killed and 69,737 injured in Israeli attacks since 7 October.