Hamas leader arrives in Egypt for talks as Israel says it is open to humanitarian pause

Israeli bombardment continues throughout Gaza, including in densely populated Rafah where the majority of Palestinians are taking refuge Credit: AP
  • Israeli president Isaac Herzog claims his country is ready for another humanitarian pause “in order to enable the release of hostages."

  • Hamas' leader, Ismail Haniyeh, has arrived in Cairo for talks on the war in Gaza.

  • Half of Gaza's population is starving and residents are often going entire days without eating, the UN's World Food Programme said.

  • The UN Security Council will vote on Wednesday on a Gaza resolution, after it was pushed back due to ongoing negotiations.

One of its Hamas' leaders has arrived in Egypt for talks on possible new Gaza temporary ceasefire as the Israeli President claims his country wants another pause in hostilities to allow the release of more hostages.

The visit by Ismail Haniyeh comes a day after Hamas fired rockets that set off air raid sirens in central Israel, a show of strength during a war that has devastated much of northern Gaza and driven some 1.9 million Palestinians - nearly 85% of the population - from their homes.

Egypt, along with Qatar - where Haniyeh is believed to be based - have both played a key role as mediators between the militant group and Israel since the war began.

Negotiations have been underway on another temporary ceasefire, but the two sides were believed to be far from an agreement.

Israel’s president, Isaac Herzog, has said that his country is ready for another humanitarian pause “in order to enable the release of hostages".

UN Security Council set to vote on a Gaza resolution

The UN Security Council is set to vote on a resolution for the conflict on Wednesday afternoon after talks were postponed due to ongoing background negotiations.

Globally the consensus has been to put an end to the war, but in previous votes the United States has wielded its veto and the UK has abstained.

This time, the United Arab Emirates is putting forward a resolution which would seek an “urgent and sustainable cessation of hostilities."

In the past the US opposed language on a cessation of hostilities. After the original vote was postponed on Monday to work up wording that appeased the US, this language was watered down in a new draft circulated.

It now “calls for the urgent suspension of hostilities to allow safe and unhindered humanitarian access, and for urgent steps towards a sustainable cessation of hostilities.”

The resolution also calls for UN Secretary-General António Guterres to establish a mechanism for monitoring aid deliveries to Gaza but this has raised concerns as it bypasses the current Israeli inspection of aid entering the territory.

Security Council resolutions are important because they are legally binding, but in practice many parties choose to ignore the council’s requests for action.

United Nations US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield will vote later on Wednesday. Credit: AP

Half of Gaza's population is starving as Israeli bombardment continues

The UN's World Food Programme (WFP) has said half of Gaza's population is starving and residents are often going entire days without eating.

"The amount of aid crossing into Gaza does not meet a fraction of the needs," the WFP said in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

Earlier this month the WFP warned that 97% of Palestinian households in the north of the strip and 83% in the south reported inadequate food consumption.

But since then tens of thousands of displaced Palestinians have moved further south, into Rafah, in search for safety according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

"Thousands of people [in Rafah] line up before aid distribution centres in need of food, water, shelter, and protection, amid the absence of latrines and adequate water and sanitation facilities in informal displacement sites and makeshift shelters," OCHA said.

Aid trucks continue to enter through the Rafah crossing but food shortages continue Credit: AP

On Tuesday, Israel bombarded towns across southern Gaza with airstrikes, killing at least 45 Palestinians and pressing ahead with its offensive by infiltrating Hamas tunnels.

It brings the death toll to nearly 20,000 Palestinians, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry.

Meanwhile, Israel says over 1,400 of its people have been killed since the conflict began on October 7.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know...