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Hamas Accepts Gaza Ceasefire Proposal from Egypt and Qatar

Hamas declared its acceptance of a Gaza ceasefire proposal from Egypt and Qatar on Monday. The group’s political leader, Ismail Haniyeh, communicated their agreement to the Qatari Prime Minister and the Egyptian Minister of Intelligence.

However, an Israeli official disputed this, stating that no ceasefire had been agreed upon. According to the official, Hamas accepted a modified version of an Egyptian proposal, which included terms Israel deemed unacceptable.

The official claimed this move was an attempt to shift blame onto Israel for obstructing a deal. Despite attempts, there hasn’t been a successful ceasefire in Gaza since a temporary pause in November.

Hamas’s announcement coincided with Israel’s decision to evacuate parts of Rafah, a city on Gaza’s southern edge. This area provided shelter for approximately half of Gaza’s 2.3 million residents.

The situation underscores the ongoing challenges in achieving a lasting peace agreement between Israel and Hamas. Both sides have engaged in sporadic conflicts for years, with ceasefires often proving elusive due to entrenched political and security concerns.

Efforts by mediators like Egypt and Qatar continue, but reaching a comprehensive resolution remains elusive amid deeply rooted tensions and differing interpretations of proposed terms.

The evolving dynamics in Gaza and the broader region highlight the complexities involved in navigating towards a sustainable peace, with each development carrying implications for the fragile stability of the area.

In another related development, Columbia University has opted to cancel its primary university-wide commencement ceremony slated for May 15, favoring smaller, school-specific events instead. This decision comes after weeks of intense protests regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which significantly disrupted activities at the Ivy League institution.

In a statement, Columbia acknowledged the challenges the community has faced recently and emphasized a shift towards honoring individual students alongside their peers at Class Days and school-level ceremonies, rather than holding the larger university-wide event.

The protests at Columbia, which gained national attention, have sparked similar demonstrations at numerous universities across the United States. Students have been advocating for a ceasefire in Gaza and urging their institutions to divest from companies with ties to Israel.

Some universities, including Columbia, resorted to deploying riot police to disperse and arrest protesters, citing concerns for campus safety. However, civil rights groups have criticized these actions as excessive and detrimental to free speech.

The unrest on campuses has led several colleges and universities nationwide to reconsider, relocate, or altogether cancel their commencement ceremonies.

In a related incident, the University of Southern California canceled its main-stage ceremony after previously silencing a Muslim student’s valedictorian speech due to anti-Palestinian sentiments.

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