Hamas Proposed 135-day Gaza Truce in a recent development.
Hamas has put forward a 135-day ceasefire proposal aimed at easing tensions in Gaza, with conditions including the release of hostages and Israeli troop withdrawal. Israel is carefully evaluating the offer, with Prime Minister Netanyahu expected to address it shortly.
The proposal follows an earlier initiative presented by US and Israeli intelligence officials through Qatari and Egyptian intermediaries. During his visit to the region, US Secretary of State Blinken engaged in discussions concerning the ceasefire proposal.
The situation remains fraught, with casualties mounting on both sides and thousands of Palestinians reported killed. Despite sporadic ceasefires, the conflict continues unabated, underscoring the urgent need for a lasting resolution.
Significant differences persist between the opposing factions. Israel has insisted on maintaining its presence in Gaza and continuing the conflict until Hamas is eliminated.
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However, Hamas has adopted a new stance regarding its longstanding demand for an end to hostilities. Rather than making it a precondition for a ceasefire, Hamas now views it as a topic for future negotiations.
According to sources familiar with the discussions, Hamas’ proposal does not initially require a permanent ceasefire, but it stipulates that an agreement to end the conflict must precede the release of all hostages.
Additionally, Hamas seeks assurances from Qatar, Egypt, and other allies that the ceasefire will be sustained and not abruptly terminated once the hostages are freed.
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The overarching goal for Hamas is to halt the aggression permanently, ensuring that Palestinians are not subjected to ongoing conflict.
Israeli government spokesperson Avi Hyman informed reporters, “We have received an update, we have received notification from the Qatari negotiators.
We are looking at them. The Mossad is looking intently at what was presented to us.”
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Ezzat El-Reshiq, a member of the Hamas political bureau, stated, “The group’s aim is to stop the aggression against our Palestinian people and secure a complete and lasting ceasefire as well as provide relief, aid, shelter, and reconstruction.”
Hamas has proposed a three-phase truce. As per the offer document reviewed by Reuters and confirmed by sources, during the initial 45-day phase, Israeli women hostages, males under 19, and the elderly and sick would be released in exchange for Palestinian women and children held in Israeli jails.
Additionally, Israel would withdraw troops from Gaza’s populated areas.
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The implementation of the second phase would be contingent upon the conclusion of “indirect talks over the requirements needed to end the mutual military operations and return to complete calm.”
In the second phase, the remaining male hostages would be released, and Israel would fully withdraw from all of Gaza. The exchange of the remains of the deceased would occur during the third phase.
“People are optimistic, at the same time they pray that this hope turns into a real agreement that will end the war,” said Yamen Hamad, a father-of-four sheltering in a UN school in Deir Al-Balah, in central Gaza, speaking to Reuters via a messaging app.
Meanwhile, in Rafah, on Gaza’s southern edge, where half of the enclave’s 2.3 million people are confined against the border with Egypt, the bodies of 10 people killed by Israeli strikes overnight were laid out in a hospital morgue.
At least two of the shrouded bundles were the size of small children, as relatives wept beside the deceased.
The Israeli military reported that dozens of militants were killed in the fighting over the past 24 hours, including three people in a house in Rafah.
Among the casualties was Majdi Abdel-Al, a senior Palestinian police officer and Hamas member, who was killed in an Israeli airstrike on a car tasked with securing aid trucks in Rafah.
Some mourners, like Mohammad Abundi, expressed frustration, stating that visits from US Secretary of State Blinken seem to escalate the situation rather than calm it.
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Washington has framed the hostage and truce agreement as part of broader plans for resolving the Middle East conflict, aiming for reconciliation between Israel and its Arab neighbors and the establishment of a Palestinian state.
However, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has rejected the idea of a Palestinian state, a condition Saudi Arabia insists on for any normalization of relations with Israel.
The current diplomatic efforts come as Israel seeks to gain control of Khan Younis, the main city in southern Gaza. Israel announced plans to enter Rafah, a move UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned would worsen the existing humanitarian crisis with potentially dire regional consequences.
The Israeli military’s claims of killing militants in the fighting in Khan Younis have been made repeatedly but could not be independently verified.
Gaza ceasefire: Israel’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu rejects Hamas’s proposed terms
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected Hamas’s ceasefire terms, asserting that “total victory” in Gaza could be achieved within months.
He dismissed negotiations with Hamas, labeling their terms as “bizarre” and emphasized the need for a complete and final victory. Netanyahu’s stance indicates a continued pursuit of conflict in the region, despite ongoing talks between negotiators.
In response, a senior Hamas official, Sami Abu Zuhri, characterized Netanyahu’s remarks as political bravado, affirming Hamas’s readiness to address all options.
Meanwhile, an Egyptian official source revealed plans for a new round of negotiations in Cairo, facilitated by Egypt and Qatar. Egypt urged all parties to demonstrate flexibility to reach a calm agreement.
Earlier, Hamas presented a counter-offer to a ceasefire proposal backed by Israel and the US, mediated by Qatar and Egypt.
The Hamas document outlined a phased approach: firstly, a 45-day pause in fighting with hostage exchanges and Israeli withdrawal from populated areas;
secondly, the exchange of remaining hostages and full Israeli withdrawal from Gaza; finally, the exchange of remains and bodies.
Additionally, the proposed deal aimed to increase aid deliveries to Gaza, with negotiations to conclude the war within 135 days.
These developments underscore the complexity of ceasefire negotiations and the challenges in resolving the conflict between Israel and Hamas.
Despite diplomatic efforts, the situation in Gaza remains volatile, with both sides entrenched in their positions.
Further discussions are expected to address these contentious issues and seek a path towards lasting peace in the region.
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