Negotiations for a pause in the fighting between Israel and Hamas could restart as soon as today, officials said. A mid-level Israeli delegation is planning to fly to Cairo for new talks mediated by Egypt, but only if Hamas also agrees to attend, Israeli officials said.

Hopes for a cease-fire were raised after Israel scaled back its demand that at least 40 hostages be released and said it was prepared to settle for 33, in part because it believes that some have died in captivity.

“That makes it a little easier to reach a deal,” Patrick Kingsley, our Jerusalem bureau chief, told us yesterday. “But there are still many stumbling blocks.”

“Hamas wants a truce that gives it a chance of surviving the war as a military force, whereas Israel wants a deal that would allow its army the chance to eventually resume fighting and rout Hamas,” he added. “That’s why Israel wants a short cease-fire, while Hamas wants a longer one that could be dragged out into permanence.”

Yesterday, President Biden reached out to the leaders of Egypt and Qatar as he seeks to increase pressure on Hamas to accept a deal. The moves raised expectations that the two sides might be moving closer to their first truce in months.

Other updates from the war:

  • The Hague: The International Criminal Court is considering arrest warrants for Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, as well as for Hamas’s leaders, Israeli officials believe.

  • Arab countries: Regional leaders are cracking down on protests, trying to stop pro-Palestinian protesters from criticizing their own governments.


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