Hamas Makes Counter Offer For Peace In Gaza.

Photo RTE. The plan put forward by Hamas includes the reconstruction of Gaza, which has been heavily bombed since October 7th, 2023.
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Hamas has laid out a series of demands, including exchanging hostages for Palestinian prisoners over a period of 135 days and rebuilding Gaza, in response to an Israel-backed ceasefire proposal.

Hamas’s response is a counteroffer to a ceasefire proposal backed by Israel and the US and mediated by Qatar and Egypt – details of which have not been made public.

Hamas, the ruling faction in Gaza,  wants a full withdrawal of Israeli forces and an end to the war after three 45-day truce phases.

The offer seems not likely to be unacceptable to Israel’s prime minister, who has called for “total victory” in Gaza and the destruction of Hamas.

The question is whether a middle ground can be reached to move the process on.

According to a draft of the Hamas document seen by the Reuters news agency, it suggests:

  • A first 45-day pause in fighting during which all Israeli women hostages, males under 19, the elderly and sick would be exchanged for Palestinian women and children held in Israeli jails. Israeli forces would withdraw from populated areas of Gaza and the reconstruction of hospitals and refugee camps would begin
  • A second phase which would see remaining male Israeli hostages exchanged for Palestinian prisoners and Israeli forces leave Gaza completely.
  • A third and final phase during which both sides would exchange remains and bodies

The deal would also see deliveries of food and other aid to Gaza increase. By the end of the 135-day pause in fighting, Hamas says negotiations would have concluded to end the war.

The proposal received a tepid response from US President Joe Biden, who called it “a little over the top”. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said there was still “a lot of work to be done” to reach a permanent ceasefire, but stressed the importance of reaching a lasting peace.

A previous one-week truce in November saw about 100 hostages freed in a swap with 240 Palestinian prisoners.

Around 1,300 people were killed during the Hamas attacks on southern Israel on 7 October last year. The armed group is proscribed as a terrorist organisation by many Western governments, including the UK and US.

More than 27,500 Palestinians have been killed and at least 65,000 injured by the war launched by Israel in response, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.

Source: BBC News.
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