Gaza latest: Ceasefire deal 'not far off' – as US says Israel has tabled 'extraordinarily generous' proposal – Sky News

Antony Blinken, US secretary of state, has urged Hamas to accept Israel’s latest “extraordinarily generous” proposal. Meanwhile, a charity has restarted work in Gaza four weeks after seven of its workers were killed in an Israeli strike. Listen to a Daily podcast episode as you scroll.
Tuesday 30 April 2024 13:36, UK
We’re closing our live Israel-Gaza coverage for today. Scroll through to catch up on what’s been happening.
Food and other humanitarian aid supplies to Gaza improved in April, but there is still far from enough to reverse the trend towards famine,  the head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees has said.
Speaking at a news conference in Geneva today, Philippe Lazzarini, UNRWA commissioner general, said: “It is true that there have been more supply entering during the month of April, but this is still far from enough to reverse the negative trend.”
He said that only a handful of countries still have a block on their funds to the UNRWA following Israeli accusations that members of its staff took part in the Hamas attacks. 
The agency has also raised $115m in private funding, he said.
Israel will carry out an operation against Hamas in the southern Gaza city of Rafah regardless of whether or not a ceasefire and hostage release deal is reached, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said.
“The idea that we will stop the war before achieving all its objectives is out of the question,” Mr Netanyahu said, according to a statement from his office.

For context: Israel and Hamas are negotiating a ceasefire agreement meant to free hostages and bring some relief to Palestinians in the besieged enclave.

But Mr Netanyahu has vowed to achieve “total victory” in the war and his government has said it will launch an offensive in Rafah, which Israel says is Hamas’ last major stronghold.
Hopes had risen in recent days that the sides could move toward a deal that would avert an Israeli incursion into Rafah, where more than half of Gaza’s 2.3 million population are sheltering.
Reports are coming through via Israeli media that a police officer has been “moderately wounded” in a stabbing attack in Jerusalem’s Old City.
The suspect is a “Turkish citizen who arrived in Israel in the last 72 hours”, a police source has told Haaretz.
The assailant, who was shot dead, reportedly ambushed the officer near a police station.
China’s foreign ministry has said that rival Palestinian groups Hamas and Fatah have expressed the political will to seek reconciliation through dialogue at unity talks in Beijing. 
The two factions have failed to heal political disputes since Hamas fighters expelled Fatah from Gaza in a short war in 2007. 
Their talks took place against the backdrop of Israel’s war on Hamas in Gaza. 
“The Palestinian National Liberation Movement and Islamic Resistance Group representatives arrived in Beijing a few days ago for in-depth and candid dialogue,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Lin Jian told a regular briefing. 
“They agreed to continue the course of talks to achieve the realisation of Palestinian solidarity and unity at an early date.” 
An update on the ceasefire negotiations – Hamas officials have left Cairo after talks with Egyptian officials on a new proposal.
Egyptian media reported that a Hamas delegation will return to Cairo with a written response to the ceasefire proposal, without saying when.
The delegation, chaired by senior Hamas official Khalil al Hayya, held talks with Egyptian officials on Monday that focused on an Egyptian-crafted proposal to establish a ceasefire in Gaza.
US secretary of state Antony Blinken is expected to visit Israel on his latest trip to the region, which began on Monday in Saudi Arabia. 
He said Israel needs to do more to allow aid to enter Gaza, but that the best way to alleviate the humanitarian crisis is for the two sides to agree to a ceasefire.
Mr Blinken also put pressure on Hamas to accept Israel’s  latest “extraordinarily generous” proposal.
For context: Along with Qatar and the United States, Egypt is mediating between Israel and Hamas to secure a truce after nearly seven months of war.

In recent weeks, Egypt has stepped up mediation efforts in hopes of averting an assault on Rafah, Gaza’s southernmost city on the border with Egypt where more than half of the enclave’s population is sheltering.
Israeli media said Israel had softened its position in the talks, and is now seeking the release of 33 hostages — down from 40 — in return for the release of some 900 Palestinian prisoners. 
Hamas is believed to hold around 100 Israelis in Gaza and the remains of at least 30 more.
More than 34,535 Palestinians have been killed and 77,704 have been wounded in the Israeli military offensive in Gaza since 7 October, the Gaza health ministry said in a statement on Tuesday. 

Protests have continued overnight at New York’s Columbia University. 
Columbia said it had begun suspending students who defied a deadline to leave a pro-Palestinian camp set up to protest the war in Gaza.

Dozens of protesters occupied the university’s Hamilton Hall in the early hours of Tuesday morning, barricading the entrances and unfurling a Palestinian flag out of a window.
Video footage showed protesters on Columbia’s Manhattan campus locking arms in front of Hamilton Hall and carrying furniture and metal barricades to the building. 
The building was one of several that was occupied during a 1968 civil rights and anti-Vietnam War protest on the campus.

A New York Police Department spokesperson said it was “outside the campus, not on the grounds”. 
Dozens of people were also arrested on Monday during pro-Palestinian protests at universities in Texas, Utah and Virginia.

More pictures have been published overnight of US authorities building a pier off Gaza to deliver humanitarian aid by sea.
The US Central Command published the pictures on X, saying construction of the floating pier was under way. 
The US and Israel have both said they hope to have the pier in use by early May.

Reuters news agency  previously reported the estimated cost of the pier as having risen to $320m (£278m), double the initial figure, according to a person familiar with the matter.
“The cost has not just risen, it has exploded,” senator Roger Wicker, the top Republican on the Democratic-led Senate Armed Services Committee, said when asked about the costs.
“This dangerous effort with marginal benefit will now cost the American taxpayers at least $320m to operate the pier for only 90 days.” 
The pier will initially handle 90 trucks a day, but that number could go up to 150 trucks daily when it is fully operational.
World Central Kitchen (WCK) is set to restart its work in Gaza – four weeks after seven of its aid workers were killed in an Israeli military strike. 
The victims included three British nationals who were part of the charity’s security team. 
WCK have distributed more than 43 million meals in Gaza and accounted for more than 60% of all international non-governmental aid.
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