Hamas proposes new ceasefire deal in Gaza

Ahram Online , Friday 15 Mar 2024

Hamas proposes new ceasefire deal in Gaza Hamas has submitted a six-week ceasefire proposal for Gaza to mediators and the United States, according to several media reports on Friday.

The Star of David is etched in an empty lot surrounded by destroyed buildings in the Gaza Strip, as seen from the US Air Force 26th Expeditionary Rescue Squadron HC-130J aircraft during an airdrop mission of humanitarian aid supplied by Jordan. AFP


Hamas proposes new ceasefire deal in Gaza


Hamas has submitted a six-week ceasefire proposal for Gaza to mediators and the United States, according to several media reports on Friday.

"The agreement is for a six-week ceasefire and a prisoner exchange," a Hamas official said to AFP after weeks of so far fruitless mediation efforts, adding that the group would want this to lead to "a complete (Israeli) withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and a permanent ceasefire".

The proposal includes the release of Israeli captives in exchange for the freedom of Palestinians detained in Israel prisons, with 100 of them serving life sentences, according to a document seen by Reuters.

As per the proposal, Hamas states that the initial release of Israelis would prioritise women, children, the elderly, and ill hostages.

In return, they are seeking the release of 700-1,000 Palestinians currently held in Israeli prisons.

The proposal also emphasises the inclusion of Israeli "female recruits" in the exchange.

During the proposed truce, Hamas would release about 42 captives, the official speaking to AFP said, requesting anonymity because of the sensitivity of the talks.

The official said that between 20 and 50 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails would be released per hostage, up from a previous proposal of a roughly 10-to-one ratio, according to a Hamas source in late February.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office responded on Thursday, stating that the new Gaza truce proposal presented by Hamas to mediators is based on "unrealistic demands."

Egypt and Qatar have been actively involved in efforts to bridge the differences between Israel and Hamas regarding the terms of a ceasefire.

These talks have gained urgency due to the deepening humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip, with approximately one-quarter of the population facing the imminent threat of famine.

Qatari officials have not yet responded to the ceasefire proposal.

Egypt, taking a leading role in negotiations, is seeking to achieve a ceasefire in Gaza, increase aid deliveries to the region, and facilitate the movement of displaced Palestinians from the south and centre to the north, President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi said on Friday.

The objective is to find a comprehensive solution that addresses the immediate needs of the affected population and brings stability to the region, he said.

A diplomatic source cited by CNN has stated that mediation efforts towards a ceasefire in Gaza are progressing positively, even though a final agreement has not been reached yet.

The source referred to the Reuters report that outlined the potential shape of a ceasefire deal that Hamas would be willing to sign up for.

Additionally, a US official informed CNN that the Biden administration feels "cautiously optimistic" about the direction of the talks.

International mediators had aimed to broker a six-week ceasefire before the start of the holy month of Ramadan, but negotiations stalled without reaching an agreement.

Ceasefire negotiations have only resulted in one previous pause of hostilities last November which included a prisoner transfer, however numerous rounds of talks since have not had any tangible result.

As the war in Gaza progresses in its sixth month, Israel has killed 31,341 Palestinians, most of whom children, and women, and injured over 73,000.

In addition, 418 Palestinians have been killed and 5,000 injured in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

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