Kerem Shalom Strike Likely Played Key Role in Negotiations Collapse

High-Profile Negotiations

As this publication reported earlier this morning, the Israel Defense Forces have begun evacuating civilians from East Rafah, Gaza Strip and are poised to begin military operations to wipe out the final bastion of Hamas. However, this development comes as negotiations in Cairo broke down in the last twenty-four hours. These negotiations were being brokered by Director Burns of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and the Qataris. These negotiations have been hailed as the closest point in stabilizing Hamas-Israel relations as the war in Gaza rages into its seventh month after the October 7th terrorist attack.

Egyptian Sources Claim Kerem Shalom Was the Final Straw

So, what caused the breakdown at this vital juncture just when Egyptian sources claimed that both sides were on the cusp of an agreement? According to Egyptian sources speaking to Arab News, the Hamas rocket attack on the Kerem Shalom border crossing on May 5th was reportedly the spark that finally pushed flabbergasted Israeli negotiators over the ledge. The Israelis have been waiting for several days for Hamas to respond to the last cease fire proposal.

The attack has now killed four IDF troops as of this morning when another soldier succumbed to their injuries. Initially the IDF announced that three soldiers were killed after the May 5th attack.

The United States was the first and from what this publication can tell, the only foreign nation to offer condolences to the IDF, following the killings. That announcement reads below:

“Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III spoke with Israeli Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant today to discuss the ongoing hostage negotiations, humanitarian assistance efforts, and Rafah.  Secretary Austin expressed his condolences for the IDF soldiers killed and wounded by a rocket and mortar attack launched by Hamas out of Rafah.  The Secretary reaffirmed his commitment to the unconditional return of all hostages and stressed the need for any potential Israeli military operation in Rafah to include a credible plan to evacuate Palestinian civilians and maintain the flow of humanitarian aid.”

Israeli Counter Strikes

Within an hour of the strike, the IDF conducted several counterstrikes into Rafah with reportedly killed several Palestinians. The IDF accused the Al-Qassam Brigades of hiding their launchers and military infrastructure within civilian populations. The IDF launched another counterstrike into Rafah at around 0200 EST which the Israelis claimed destroyed several sniper and mortar positions and killed several militants. The Kerem Shalom crossing has since been closed. However, the IDF has pledged to ensure humanitarian aid can still get into Rafah and other humanitarian zones.

As of this publication, Hamas officials, including Abu Zuhri have told press that any IDF operation into Rafah would be a “dangerous escalation that will have consequences”. According to CNN, Hamas is walking away from negotiations due to the IDF evacuating East Rafah.

Tessaron
Tessaron
United States Military Academy and American Military University Alumni. Victor covers flash military, intelligence, and geo-political updates.

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