Israel-Hamas ceasefire talks stall as Gazans await aid

Israeli forces said on Friday they are continuing to make progress in the fight against Hamas. They have captured a key area along the border of Gaza and Egypt, in addition to advancing in the center of Rafah. Ceasefire talks are stalled, and both sides are trading blame for the lack of progress.

Hamas leaders said in a statement on Thursday they are ready for a "complete agreement," including releasing the hostages they seized in October, if Israel stops the offensive. However, according to Israeli media reports, officials there said they will not agree to end the war in exchange for the hostages.

The fighting in Rafah has resulted in a significant drop of aid entering the enclave. Israeli officials said on Friday 600 trucks' worth of supplies are waiting to be picked up on the Gazan side of the Kerem Shalom crossing.

However, aid workers say there is much more to be done.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Deputy Spokesperson Jens Laerke appeared at a press conference in Geneva on Friday. He said, "It does not stop when you drop off just a few meters across the border, and then drive away and then leave it to humanitarians to drive through active combat zones, which they cannot do, to pick it up."

Laerke added that aid workers need "safe" and "unimpeded" access to the drop-off points.

Authorities in Washington are making an effort to get things moving. US media say the White House is arranging a meeting with Egyptian and Israeli officials in Cairo next week to discuss reopening the Rafah crossing.