Speaking during talks in qatar that also sought to mediate the release of captives, US President Joe Biden expressed his hope that a truce in the Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza would begin by next monday, march 4.
Both parties' attendance for "proximity talks," which include meeting separately but in the same location with mediators, indicated that negotiations were moving more quickly than they had since a major push at the beginning of February, when israel turned down a counteroffer from Hamas for a four and a half-month ceasefire. Biden said on monday he hoped a ceasefire would start within days.

He said, "Well, I hope by the beginning of the weekend, by the end of the weekend," when asked when he thought the truce would begin.
We're near, my national security adviser assures me. We are near. We have not yet finished. "I'm hoping that by monday of next week, there will be a cease-fire," Biden stated to reporters while in New York.
Top US officials were working on the problem last week, according to a US official, who stated that American negotiators had been working hard to obtain a pause-for-hostages arrangement before Ramadan's starting on march 10.
According to the official, the optimism seemed to stem from meetings between Qataris and Israelis.

Both israel and Hamas continued to publicly hold diametrically opposed views on a potential ceasefire and blame one another for any delays.
Ismail Haniyeh, the secretive leader of Hamas, stated his party had welcomed attempts to find an end to the war and accused israel of procrastinating while Gazans perished under blockade after meeting with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
"We will not allow the enemy to use negotiations as a cover for this crime," he stated.
Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of israel, declared that his country was open to a negotiation and that Hamas should give up on demands that he called "from another planet."

Of course, if we can get this arrangement, that's what we want. Depending on Hamas, yes. They truly have the final say now," he said to Fox news in the US. "They have to come down to reality."

Qatar's attempts to negotiate a "immediate and permanent ceasefire agreement in the Gaza Strip" were discussed by Al Thani and the head of Hamas, according to Al Thani's office.

An Israeli working party has travelled to qatar to establish an operational centre to help discussions, a source previously told Reuters.

The source stated that part of its task would be to screen potential Palestinian militants that Hamas wishes to be released as part of a hostage-release agreement.

While Hamas claims it would not release captives in the absence of a deal to end the war, israel publicly maintains that it will not stop the conflict until Hamas is destroyed.


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