Hamas says it accepts Gaza ceasefire proposal

Hamas said it had told mediators in Qatar and Egypt that it had accepted the offer of a new Gaza ceasefire and hostage release deal with Israel.

“The ball is now in Israel’s court,” said a source from a Palestinian organization.

prime minister of israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Hamas’ proposal is “far from Israel’s basic demands,” but negotiators said they would continue talks.

The cornerstone of the agreement is the cessation of weeks of fighting and the release of dozens of hostages held by Hamas.

Hamas’s announcement came hours after the Israeli military told Palestinians to evacuate eastern Rafah. The army appears to be preparing to attack Hamas resistance forces that have been threatened for years in the southern city of Gaza.

Tens of thousands of residents are believed to have been affected by the operation, with many seen packed into cars and donkey carts on Monday.

Hamas officials called the evacuation order following Israeli airstrikes a “dangerous escalation.”

Hamas issued a statement on Monday night saying that political leader Ismail Haniyeh had conveyed the “approval of the proposal regarding the ceasefire agreement” to the Qatari prime minister and Egypt’s intelligence chief.

A senior Palestinian official familiar with the proposal told the BBC that Hamas had agreed to “permanently cease hostile activities” if conditions were met.

The words hinted that Hamas may be contemplating an end to the armed struggle, but no further details were provided. This will be achieved through a two-stage ceasefire agreement, each lasting 42 days.

The first phase includes the release of Israeli female soldiers held hostage in exchange for 50 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons, including some serving life sentences.

During this period, Israeli forces will remain in Gaza. However, within 11 days of the ceasefire taking effect, Israel plans to begin dismantling military installations in the center of the territory and withdraw from the Salah al-Din road, the main north-south road, and the coastal road.

After 11 days, displaced Palestinians will be allowed to return to the north.

Smoke rises in the Gaza Strip as fighting between Israel and Hamas continues (as seen from southern Israel) (May 6, 2024)

Hamas and Israel both under pressure to accept new ceasefire and hostage deal [Reuters]

The second phase is expected to end with “sustainable long-term peace” and a complete lifting of the blockade of Gaza, the official said.

“The ball is in your court now.” [Israel]Either agree to the ceasefire agreement or sabotage it,” a senior Hamas official told AFP news agency.

As news of the Hamas statement spread, celebrations were being held in Gaza.

But an anonymous Israeli official quickly told Reuters that the proposal accepted by Hamas was a “softened” version of Egypt’s proposal, which contained “far-reaching” conclusions that Israel could not accept.

“This appears to be a ploy to make Israel appear to be the one rejecting the deal,” the official said.

Later, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said in a statement: “Although Hamas’s proposal falls far short of Israel’s basic requirements, in order to maximize the chances of reaching an agreement on terms acceptable to Israel, Israel will send a delegation of mediators to We will dispatch the

At the same time, Israel’s wartime cabinet called for “military pressure on Hamas to further the war objectives of freeing the hostages, destroying Hamas’ military power and governance capabilities, and ensuring that Gaza no longer poses a threat to Gaza.” “We have decided to continue Operation Rafah in order to protect the future of Israel,” he added.

The statement came at the same time the Israeli military announced it would attack Hamas targets east of Rafah.

U.S. State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told reporters that the United States, which is trying to broker a deal along with Qatar and Egypt, is considering Hamas’s response and is “consulting with our partners.”

“We continue to believe that the hostage deal is in the best interests of the Israeli people. It is in the best interests of the Palestinian people,” he added.

“That would result in an immediate ceasefire, which would allow us to scale up humanitarian operations, and we will continue to work towards a ceasefire.”

The war began on October 7 when Hamas militants stormed into southern Israel, killing about 1,200 people and taking more than 250 hostages.

More than 34,700 people have been killed in the ensuing Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip, according to the Hamas-run Gaza Strip’s Ministry of Health.

In a deal reached in November, Hamas released 105 hostages and about 240 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons in exchange for a week-long ceasefire.

Israel says 128 hostages in the Gaza Strip are still missing, and at least 34 of them are presumed dead.

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