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Netanyahu Rejects Hamas’s Ceasefire Proposal to End War with Israel

February 8, 2024
Photo credit: Amos Ben Gershom/EPA-EFE.

Hamas has suggested a ceasefire plan to de-escalate the ongoing situation in Gaza after four and a half months, in an effort to ultimately end the conflict. This proposal was made in response to a plan put forward by mediators from Qatar and Egypt last week, which received support from the United States and Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has refused the plan proposed by Hamas.

The exchange of remaining Israeli hostages captured on 7 October for Palestinian prisoners is a key aspect of the proposed ceasefire plan by Hamas. Additionally, the plan includes the commencement of Gaza’s reconstruction, the complete withdrawal of Israeli forces, and the exchange of bodies and remains. These actions are outlined in three phases, each lasting 45 days, as detailed in a draft document obtained by Reuters.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken traveled to Israel after meeting with mediators from Qatar and Egypt with the hopes of brokering a lasting ceasefire to the ongoing conflict. Details of Hamas’s proposed counteroffer, which includes the release of specific groups of hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners, were not previously disclosed.

In the first 45-day phase of the Hamas counterproposal, all Israeli female hostages, males under the age of 19, as well as elderly and sick individuals, would be released. In exchange, Palestinian women and children detained in Israeli jails would be released.

In the second phase of the ceasefire plan, the remaining male hostages would be released, followed by the exchange of remains in the third phase. Hamas expects that by the conclusion of the third phase, both sides will have reached an agreement to end the war. Additionally, Hamas expressed a desire for the release of 1500 prisoners, with one-third of them chosen from a list of Palestinians serving life sentences in Israeli jails.

Israel initiated its military offensive in Gaza following an incident where militants from Hamas-controlled Gaza killed 1,200 individuals and took 253 hostages in southern Israel on 7 October. 

According to Gaza’s Health Ministry, at least 27,585 Palestinians have been confirmed killed in Israel’s military campaign, with potentially thousands more buried under rubble. 

As part of the proposed ceasefire, there would be an increase in the delivery of food and aid to Gaza’s civilians who are currently experiencing severe hunger and shortages of essential supplies.

Netanyahu has dismissed a cease-fire proposal from Hamas aimed at ending the conflict in Gaza. Netanyahu criticized the plan as “delusional,” highlighting that it would ultimately allow Hamas to maintain control over the Gaza Strip after a phased truce.

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