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A deadly incident in Gaza is jeopardizing cease-fire talks between Israel and Hamas.

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A starving child in Gaza

Hanging in the Balance

The Story

A deadly incident in Gaza is jeopardizing cease-fire talks between Israel and Hamas.

What happened?

There are conflicting reports. Gaza health authorities say that Israeli forces shot and killed at least 100 Palestinians yesterday who were trying to get aid. Israeli officials say dozens of people were trampled to death or run over by aid trucks, and that Israel fired warning shots to try to break up the crowd. Eyewitnesses say Israel opened fire at civilians, causing trucks to leave in panic. According to Gaza's Health Ministry, over 30,000 Palestinians have been killed since war broke out following Hamas's deadly attack on October 7th. In the past few weeks, getting aid into Gaza has become increasingly difficult amid an ongoing ground offensive, a breakdown in public order, and what the UN has said is a refusal from Israel’s military to allow deliveries. This comes as the UN said the Gaza population is close to famine and there are reports of people eating animal feed and grass to survive. But this latest incident may have even bigger consequences.

What do you mean?

Earlier this week, President Biden said he was hopeful that Israel and Hamas would agree to a cease-fire that includes the release of hostages by Monday. Now, he says yesterday’s deadly incident will complicate already delicate negotiations. Hamas reportedly said Israeli soldiers “committed a massacre” — language echoed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas — and that it wouldn’t let hostage negotiations “be used as cover for crimes against the Palestinians.” But Gaza is on a deadline. Israel has said that if Hamas does not release the remaining hostages by March 10, which marks the start of Ramadan, it will begin its ground offensive in Rafah in southern Gaza, where more than 1.4 million Palestinians are sheltering.


Negotiators are racing against the clock to secure a cease-fire that would pause fighting for at least six weeks, free the remaining hostages still held by Hamas, and increase aid to Gaza. Now, whatever hope there was that a cease-fire would happen before the March 10th deadline is starting to dwindle.

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