Hamas says it has given a 'responsible' response to truce proposal

Ahram Online , Wednesday 12 Jun 2024

Hamas and the Palestinian factions have given a responsible, serious, and positive response to the proposed Gaza truce, Izzat al-Rishq, a member of the Hamas Political Bureau, said on Wednesday.

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A man walks past buildings destroyed during the Israeli bombardment of Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip, June 2024. AFP

 

“The response of Hamas and the Palestinian factions is consistent with the demands of our people and our resistance and opens a wide way to reach an agreement," al-Rishq said on Telegram.

He noted that Israeli media's incitement against Hamas's response is an indication of attempts to evade the agreement's obligations.

A source with knowledge of the talks said Hamas's response included questions and requests for clarifications and proposed some amendments to the plan, including a ceasefire timeline and the complete withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza.

“We reiterated our previous stance. I believe there are no big gaps. The ball is now in the Israeli courtyard,” a senior Hamas official told Reuters.

While the US has said Israel accepted its proposal, Israel has not publicly acknowledged the acceptance.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu views the plan as "partial", an Israeli government spokesman said.

However, an Israeli official told CNN that Israel received Hamas's response through mediators on Tuesday evening and claimed the response amounted to "a rejection."

“Hamas has proposed numerous changes to the proposal that was on the table," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday.

“We discussed those changes last night with Egyptian colleagues and today with the Prime Minister,” Blinken said after meeting with the Qatari prime minister.

Earlier, Hamas gave its official response to the latest truce proposal for Gaza, outlined by US President Joe Biden, calling for a "complete halt" to Israeli aggression.

"The response prioritizes the interests of our Palestinian people and emphasizes the necessity of a complete halt to the ongoing aggression on Gaza," Hamas said in a joint statement with Islamic Jihad.

Egypt and Qatar announced they had received a response from Hamas and the Palestinian factions regarding the ceasefire and the exchange of captives.

Both countries emphasized that their joint mediation efforts with the United States would continue until an agreement is reached.

On 31 May, Biden outlined what he called an Israeli plan that would start with a six-week ceasefire and the exchange of captives for Palestinian prisoners and, in three negotiated phases, lead to the rebuilding of Gaza.

The UN Security Council on Monday backed a US resolution supporting the proposal outlined by Biden.

An Israeli official has told Newsweek that the US proposal aligns with Netanyahu's goal of inflicting a lasting, decisive defeat against the Palestinian movement.

"Israel will not end the war before achieving all its war objectives: destroying Hamas's military and governing capabilities.

However, the public details of the three-phase proposal did not include any mention of Hamas's defeat.  

Rather, the US leader's description of the road map entailed a negotiated six-week ceasefire between Hamas and Israel and a partial withdrawal of the Israeli occupation army, along with a prisoner swap, to be followed by talks toward further hostage releases, a lasting ceasefire, total Israeli withdrawal and, finally, a reconstruction plan for Gaza.

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