In early March, the Muslim holy month of Ramadan began amid dashed hopes that negotiators would reach a deal for a pause in the fighting in Gaza.

On Tuesday, as weeks of fasting were drawing to a close, the pace of the war had slowed. But the prospect of relief and peace of any duration in the embattled territory remained elusive.

Cease-fire talks are still sputtering, Hamas has dismissed the likelihood of a deal and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel has doubled down on his vow to invade Rafah, the final stretch of the Gaza Strip that his military has yet to push into.

“We will complete the elimination of Hamas’s battalions, including in Rafah,” he said on Tuesday. “No force in the world will stop us.”

For weeks, allies and the international community have been warning Israel that a move into Rafah would result in a humanitarian calamity. But Mr. Netanyahu’s remarks to military recruits on Tuesday — a day after proclaiming “there is a date” for the planned Rafah invasion — made clear he remained undeterred.

Hamas, in a statement on the messaging app Telegram early Tuesday, said it was reviewing the latest cease-fire proposal, even though its demands had not been met. Egypt, Qatar and the United States have been mediating the negotiations.

Active fighting in the 140-square-mile enclave has ebbed to its lowest point since November. Israel withdrew troops from southern Gaza over the weekend, allowing some people to return to survey their homes in the southern city of Khan Younis, only to find much of it annihilated.

Analysts said the pullback of troops signaled a new phase of the war rather than the likelihood of an enduring cease-fire. Israeli leaders said the withdrawal was a result of their military’s achievements on the battlefield.

Eid al-Fitr, the festival marking the end of Ramadan

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, will begin in Gaza on Wednesday. Under normal circumstances it’s a holiday filled with family visits, new clothes and sweet treats.

But this year, Gazans are facing Eid under the pall of widespread hunger and extreme shortages of basic necessities, on top of the destruction and death that have touched all corners of the enclave in six months of war. During the month of Ramadan, about 2,000 people were killed in the fighting, bringing the toll to more than 33,000 lives lost since the war began on Oct. 7, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry, which does not distinguish between civilians and combatants in its statistics.

COGAT, the Israeli agency responsible for coordinating aid deliveries into Gaza, said 419 trucks with humanitarian aid had entered the territory on Monday, the largest number since the outbreak of the conflict. Before the war, an average of 500 commercial and aid trucks entered each day, the level that aid agencies say is needed.

On Monday, the leaders of Egypt, Jordan and France urged an immediate cease-fire in Gaza in a joint opinion essay published in The Washington Post and other publications, citing the “catastrophic humanitarian suffering” and “intolerable human toll” brought on by the war.

King Abdullah II of Jordan, President Emmanuel Macron of France and President Abdel Fatah El-Sisi of Egypt together called for a two-state solution for the Palestinians, saying it was the only credible path to peace, and warned Israel against invading Rafah.

“Such an offensive would only bring more death and suffering, heighten the risks and consequences of mass displacement of the people of Gaza and threaten regional escalation,” they wrote in the essay.

Cassandra Vinograd contributed reporting.





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