Hamas Gives Positive Response to US Ceasefire Proposal – 2024-07-10 12:56:41

Civilian refugees in Palestine(AFP)

Hamas on Saturday (July 6) temporarily accepted a US-backed proposal for a phased ceasefire in Gaza, ignoring Israel’s initial demand for a commitment to end the war altogether.

Therefore, the potential deal is still under negotiation, to initiate a six-week ceasefire involving the exchange of hostages and prisoners and pave the way for broader talks to end the conflict.

“Hamas has given preliminary approval to a US-backed proposal for a phased ceasefire agreement in Gaza, dropping a key demand that Israel make an upfront commitment to end the war completely,” a Hamas and Egyptian official was quoted as saying by France24 on Saturday (6/7).

The apparent compromise by the militants might help provide the first lull in fighting since November and pave the way for further talks to end the devastating nine-month war. But all sides caution that a deal is far from assured.

The two officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss ongoing negotiations, said Washington’s phased deal would first include a full and comprehensive six-week ceasefire and would include the release of a number of hostages, including women, the elderly and the wounded, in exchange for the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners.

“During these 42 days, Israeli forces will also withdraw from densely populated areas in Gaza and allow the return of refugees to their homes in northern Gaza,” the two people said.

Also read: Doubts and Uncertainty over the Fate of the Ceasefire in Gaza

During that period, Hamas, Israel and mediators will also negotiate the terms of a second phase that would allow for the release of the remaining male hostages, both civilians and soldiers.

In return, Israel would release additional Palestinian prisoners and detainees. The third stage would be the return of the remaining hostages, including the bodies of the dead prisoners, and the start of a multi-year reconstruction project.

“Hamas still wants written assurances from the mediator that Israel will continue negotiating a permanent ceasefire agreement following the first phase comes into effect,” the two officials said.

Read also: Hopes Grow for Ceasefire Agreement in Gaza

Hamas representatives said the group’s agreement came following they received verbal commitments and assurances from mediators that the war would not resume and negotiations would continue until a permanent ceasefire was reached.

“Now we want this guarantee on paper,” he said.

On- once more, off- once more ceasefire talks have stalled for months over Hamas’ demands that any deal include a complete end to the fighting.

Read also: Netanyahu Agrees to More Talks, Five Gazans Killed in Food Aid

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has offered to halt the fighting, but not end it completely until Israel achieves its goal of destroying Hamas’ military and government capabilities and returning all hostages held by the militant group.

Hamas has previously expressed fears that Israel would resume hostilities following the hostages were freed. Israeli officials have also said they fear Hamas will delay talks and a ceasefire indefinitely without releasing all the hostages.

Netanyahu’s office did not respond to a request for comment, and there was no immediate comment from Washington.

On Friday (July 5), Israel’s prime minister confirmed that the head of the Mossad spy agency had made a lightning visit to Qatar, a key mediator. But his office said divisions between the parties remained.

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Israel launched its war on Gaza following a Hamas offensive in October, in which militants stormed southern Israel, killing regarding 1,200 people and kidnapping regarding 250.

Since then, Israeli air and ground attacks have killed more than 38,000 people in Gaza, according to the territory’s Health Ministry, which does not distinguish between combatants and civilians in its tally.

The offensive has caused widespread destruction and triggered a humanitarian crisis that has left hundreds of thousands of people on the brink of starvation, according to international officials. Israel says Hamas is still holding regarding 120 hostages, regarding a third of whom Israel believes are dead.

In line with previous proposals, the deal would see regarding 600 truckloads of humanitarian aid entering Gaza daily with 300 truckloads going to the worst-hit northern enclave, officials said. Following Israel’s offensive on the southernmost city of Rafah, aid supplies entering Gaza have dwindled slightly.

The report on Saturday (6/7) came as Israeli airstrikes and bombardments of Gaza continued.

In the central city of Deir al-Balah, funeral prayers were held for 12 Palestinians, including five children and two women, who were killed in three separate attacks in central Gaza on Friday and Saturday, according to hospital officials.

“Two of those killed in one of the attacks that hit the Mughazi Refugee camp on Friday were employees of the UN agency for Palestine Refugees,” said the organization’s communications director, Juliette Touma.

He added that a total of 194 workers at the UN agency had been killed in the conflict since October.

Earlier this week, some 250,000 Palestinians were affected by an Israeli evacuation order in and around the southern city of Khan Younis. Most Palestinians seeking safety headed to a safe zone centered around the coastal area of ​​Muwasi, or the nearby town of Deir al-Balah.

Ground fighting has also raged in the Shijaiyah neighborhood of Gaza City over the past two weeks, forcing tens of thousands of people to flee their homes. Many of them have taken shelter at the Yarmouk Sports Stadium, one of the largest football arenas in the territory. (France24/Z-8)

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