Israel Sets Deadline For Rafah Attack

Israel gave the terrorist group Hamas one week to work out a deal for a new ceasefire or face an attack on its final stronghold in Rafah. The Gaza Strip city has been the center of both the current conflict and global protests, including on a series of American college campuses.

Israel worked with its neighbor Egypt on a proposal for a ceasefire. Egypt has invited members of Hamas to the country’s capital of Cairo to discuss the matter. The terrorist organization said that it would send delegates to the capital.

Despite the current negotiations, Hamas expressed concern that it would not have a long-term ceasefire. The current conflict in the Middle East began after Hamas launched an attack last Oct. 7 that killed about 1,200 people.

Should Hamas accept the current proposal it is likely that there would be up to 40 days of ceasefire. Hamas would be requested to release up to 33 hostages with the possibility of negotiations to extend the ceasefire further.

This includes a possible extension of the agreement for six weeks or more in exchange for more hostages.

Negotiators indicated that the ceasefire could ultimately extend to be one full year in length.

Hamas has rejected several other offers for a ceasefire, including those partially mediated by Egypt. The two sides had a brief lull in the fighting in November to exchange some hostages and allow for humanitarian aid to enter Gaza.

However, Hamas has stated that it likely does not have enough hostages to exchange with Israel in order to make previous ceasefire offers work. Israel estimated that there were about 140 civilians taken hostage, including several Americans.

The ceasefire discussions come as protests on college campuses appear to be reaching their height. This includes the clearing out of a number of tent encampments on various campuses including Columbia University.

Furthermore, the ongoing protests attracted a number of socialist and Islamist messages, including calls for a socialist revolution and intifada. Intifada describes two armed uprisings against Israel. The White House issued a statement against perceived antisemitism in the protests.