Negotiations are continuing between Israel and the Islamic organization Hamas regarding a cessation of fighting and other issues.

*We will keep you updated on developments regarding Israel and Palestine as of February 26, Japan time.

Israeli Prime Minister plans to proceed with ground operations “even if negotiations are reached”

Regarding negotiations regarding a cessation of fighting in the Gaza Strip and the release of hostages, Israel and a mediating country have agreed to a plan to suspend fighting for about six weeks on the condition that Hamas releases approximately 40 hostages. This is reported by Israeli media.

Regarding this, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in an interview with American CBS television broadcast on the 25th, ``I don't know yet whether we can reach an agreement to release the hostages.''

Regarding the attack on Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, Prime Minister Netanyahu said, ``Even if we can reach a negotiated agreement, it will only delay the timing a little. Once we start the operation, we will achieve complete victory within a few weeks.'' "We can get what we want," he said, emphasizing his intention to proceed with ground operations against Hamas's last stronghold, Rafah, in order to destroy it.

There is strong concern from the international community regarding ground operations in Rafah, where nearly 1.5 million people, including evacuees, live, saying that ``more casualties, mainly children, will result.''

In Israel, citizens dissatisfied with the lack of progress in releasing the hostages held violent protests on the 24th, leading to clashes with police, and calls for negotiations to be prioritized over military operations are growing stronger.

U.S. presidential aide Sullivan “agreeing on hostage negotiations”

Concerning negotiations regarding the cessation of fighting in the Gaza Strip and the release of hostages, US Presidential Advisor Sullivan, who is one of the intermediary countries, said in an interview on CNN TV on the 25th, ``Israel and the intermediary countries have agreed on a general agreement. "There was a consensus on what that would look like."

However, he did not reveal any specific details, saying that negotiations are still ongoing.

Sullivan also said, ``In the end, Hamas must reach an agreement on the release of the hostages,'' and based on the consensus reached with Israel, it is now time for Hamas to reach an agreement with mediating countries such as Qatar. has indicated that it will monitor the outcome of negotiations with Hamas.