Hamas Responds ‘Positively’ to Proposed Gaza Ceasefire Plan

Hamas has delivered its response to a proposed ceasefire plan in Gaza. The specifics of the proposal, created by Israel, the United States, Qatar, and Egypt, remain undisclosed.

Earlier reports indicated the proposal included a six-week ceasefire during which further exchanges of Israeli hostages for Palestinian prisoners would occur. Both Israel and the United States are currently evaluating Hamas’s reply.

During his visit to the Middle East, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced plans to discuss the response with Israeli officials on Wednesday.

Although Blinken has not commented on the US’s stance towards the response, President Joe Biden described it as “a little over the top”, hinting at potential Israeli reluctance to meet Hamas’s demands.

A top Hamas official informed the press that the group has offered a “positive vision” in response to the ceasefire framework but has requested several modifications concerning Gaza’s reconstruction, the return of displaced residents, and care for the injured.

This includes provisions for their home return and overseas medical treatment. According to a Hamas spokesperson, responding to the proposal, sent about a week ago, was delayed until Tuesday due to its being “vague and ambiguous”.

Qatar’s Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman al Thani generally views Hamas’s response as positive.

The conflict in Gaza was triggered by an unexpected attack by Hamas on southern Israel on October 7, leading to approximately 1,300 deaths and around 250 hostages.

Since the conflict’s onset, over 27,500 fatalities have been reported in Gaza, as per the local health ministry. Hamas has controlled Gaza, which has been under blockade by Israel and Egypt since 2007.

A ceasefire last November saw the release of 105 Israeli and international hostages in exchange for 240 Palestinian prisoners.

The possibility of a new agreement is complicated by Israeli claims of progress in locating Hamas’s leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, and intense domestic pressure on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to free the remaining hostages.

Secretary Blinken’s arrival in Tel Aviv is marked by a heightened sense of regional tension, especially following a drone attack in Jordan that killed three American soldiers, prompting US retaliatory strikes against Iran-supported militias and warnings of further actions.

A ceasefire in Gaza is considered by the US as a vital step towards de-escalating regional tensions. Israel recently confirmed that 31 of the 136 remaining hostages in Gaza had been killed.

Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari of the Israel Defense Forces stated that the families of the deceased had been notified, emphasizing the continued effort to secure the release of all hostages as a moral, national, and international duty.