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Diplomats Warn of Disaster if Israel Expands Offensive

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In a high-level diplomatic rendezvous, top officials from Egypt, Jordan, and France convened in Cairo on Saturday for critical discussions. Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry warmly welcomed his counterparts, French Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne and Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, to the Egyptian capital.

The focal point of the meeting was the escalating Israel-Hamas conflict and the imminent Israeli offensive targeting the densely populated city of Rafah. Minister Shoukry, in a joint press briefing with his Jordanian and French counterparts, underscored their collective concern regarding the potential ramifications of such a military operation, particularly in a city already burdened with over one-and-a-half million displaced individuals.

Israel’s stated intention to launch an offensive in Rafah, citing it as the last stronghold of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, has sparked alarm among neighboring nations and key mediators. They have warned of dire consequences if Israel expands its military campaign into the city, where more than half of Gaza’s population resides in cramped conditions.

In a separate development, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Friday a willingness to resume ceasefire negotiations with Hamas. This announcement signals a renewed effort to halt the ongoing hostilities in Gaza and secure the release of Israeli hostages.

However, despite efforts by the United States, Qatar, and Egypt to broker a ceasefire, progress remains elusive as the conflict enters its sixth month. The roots of the conflict trace back to a deadly cross-border attack by Hamas on October 7, which resulted in significant casualties and the abduction of hundreds.

In response, Israel launched a campaign of airstrikes and ground offensives, resulting in a staggering death toll among Palestinians. While Israeli authorities contend that a significant portion of those killed were militants, Palestinian health authorities argue that the majority were civilians, including women, children, and teenagers.

The conflict underscores the complex dynamics at play in the region, with diplomatic efforts continuing amidst the ongoing violence and humanitarian crisis in Gaza.