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Gaza ceasefire appears increasingly likely over weekend — diplomatic sources

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US correspondent based in New York

Palestinians inspect destroyed buildings following overnight Israeli airstrikes in Beit Hanoun, in the northern Gaza Strip, May 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
Palestinians inspect destroyed buildings following overnight Israeli airstrikes in Beit Hanoun, in the northern Gaza Strip, May 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

NEW YORK — A diplomatic source familiar with efforts to broker a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas tells The Times of Israel there is cautious optimism that one will be achieved in the next day or two.

The source says that this assessment among negotiators comes from experience brokering ceasefires to end previous rounds of violence between the sides and a “clear reading of the room.”

Hamas has passed along messages that it is interested in a ceasefire, and negotiators believe that after the nature of the Israeli strikes that took place in Gaza overnight Thursday and early Friday, Jerusalem is also interested in winding down the latest round of violence, the diplomatic source says.

Egypt has been playing a major role in the current efforts to end the violence, holding calls with officials in Hamas, Qatar, the US and other countries, though not with Israel directly, another official tells ToI.

A Security Council diplomat says that Sunday’s emergency open session on the violence in Israel and Gaza will see member states unanimously issue calls for a ceasefire, albeit with blame being placed to varying degrees on either side. The meeting will further pressure Israel and Hamas to agree to a return to calm, the diplomat says.

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