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Cease-Fire Talks to Confront How Displaced Palestinians Can Return

For months, Israel and Hamas have been at odds over a host of issues during talks aimed at brokering a truce, including whether Israeli troops would withdraw and the length of a cease-fire.

Now one of the major sticking points to emerge as in-person talks resumed this week is how displaced Palestinians will be able to return to the northern Gaza Strip, according to Israeli, Hamas and regional officials.

Despite mounting international pressure, the talks aimed at brokering a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas and the release of hostages held by militants in Gaza appear to be stalled.

Mediators from Qatar and Egypt have been meeting with Israeli officials and separately with Hamas leaders, trying to find a formula the warring parties can live with. The United States, Israel’s staunchest ally and largest supplier of weapons, has also been involved. On Saturday, Israeli negotiators traveled to Cairo for another round of talks.

As the war nears the end of its sixth month, humanitarian officials have said a cease-fire is urgently needed to allow more aid into the devastated enclave and stave off a looming famine, and the relatives of hostages have become increasingly worried about the fate of their loved ones in captivity.

American officials say that they are also hoping the warring sides reach an agreement soon, and that any temporary cease-fire reached to allow the exchange of hostages for Palestinian prisoners might be extended into a longer-lasting peace.

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