A deal that would pause fighting in Gaza and allow for the exchange and release of hostages is nearing an agreement. The agreement would include Israel and Hamas pausing the war for about two months to release the more than 100 hostages taken on Oct. 7 by Hamas. The decision could come within the next two weeks.

  • According to The New York Times, “negotiators are cautiously optimistic that a final accord is within reach.”
  • Pres. Joe Biden will be sending his CIA director to Paris in order to attend talks on Sunday between Israeli, Egyptian and Qatari officials, per the Times.
  • “Both leaders affirmed that a hostage deal is central to establishing a prolonged humanitarian pause in the fighting and ensure additional lifesaving humanitarian assistance reaches civilians in need throughout Gaza,” the White House said in a statement, per the Times.
  • More than 26,000 Palestinians have been killed since Oct. 7.

Other developments from the past two weeks:

Funding for UN Palestinian aid agency still halted after allegations of Hamas connections: An Israeli intelligence agency alleges that around 190 United Nations Relief and Works Agency employees, “including teachers, have doubled as Hamas or Islamic Jihad militants. It has names and pictures for 11 of them,” Reuters reported.

  • The U.S., U.K., Germany, Italy, Japan and Austria are among countries that have halted sending payments to the UN agency, according to BBC.

Winter storms batter Gaza: As winter weather intensifies in Gaza, heavy rains and flooding are affecting communities of displaced Palestinians. According to Doctors Without Borders, Gaza’s largest hospital left, Nasser Hospital, is near collapse.

Deadly strike on U.N. compound in Gaza kills at least 12 and injures 75: A strike hit a U.N. Relief and Works Agency facility in Khan Younis, “where 30,000 displaced Palestinians had reportedly been sheltering,” Adrienne Watson, a spokesperson for the National Security Council, said, per The Hill.

Israel proposes 2-month pause in fighting: Israel has proposed a two-month fighting pause that would involve the release of all the remaining hostages held in Gaza by Hamas. It marks “the longest period of cease-fire that Israel has offered Hamas since the start of the war,” but does not include an agreement to end the war, Axios reported.

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Hundreds of Israelis gathered in Tel Aviv to call for a cease-fire in Gaza: A rare anti-war protest was allowed in Tel Aviv Thursday night that was held by hundreds of Israelis calling for an end to the fighting currently taking place in Gaza.

  • The protest took place close to the time Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a press conference and said Israel would continue fighting in Gaza “until complete victory” and that it could take “many more months,” BBC reported.
U.S. pauses funding as Israel claims U.N. agency employees were involved in Oct. 7 attacks
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