As truce negotiations between Israel and Hamas continue, a significant obstacle has emerged, according to sources close to the talks. The US and Israeli officials speaking to Israel’s Walla news outlet have revealed that the main point of the dispute now revolves around the number of Palestinian captives Hamas insists must be released.

This revelation comes amid a backdrop of escalating tensions and violence in the region. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has received a formal request from South Africa, urging its intervention in light of Israel’s planned ground assault on Rafah.

Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres, or MSF) has issued a plea for safe passage for individuals seeking to leave Nasser Hospital, a medical complex in Khan Younis. Tragically, the Ministry of Health in Gaza reports that Israeli snipers have killed three Palestinians within the hospital premises.

UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron suggested that Israel’s failure to provide essential provisions such as food and water to Gaza may constitute a breach of humanitarian obligations. Moreover, he expressed scepticism about the feasibility of the Israeli Defence Forces’ suggestion for residents of Rafah to evacuate, given the densely populated refugee camps in the area. Cameron’s statements indicate a shift in UK policy regarding the recognition of Palestine, signalling a diminishing Israeli veto power in the process.

Meanwhile, the Biden administration faces mounting criticism for its continued arms support to Israel amidst allegations of civilian casualties. Cameron sidesteps a direct request to halt arms supplies but underscores the need for dismantling terrorist operations and providing a clear political pathway towards a two-state solution.

As negotiations continue, Lord Cameron proposed a temporary ceasefire lasting up to six weeks, which Israel appears willing to accept. The hope is that such a ceasefire could pave the way for a more lasting peace agreement, with Cameron expressing optimism for discussions at a forthcoming meeting in Munich involving key international stakeholders.