Hamas responds to US ceasefire proposal for Gaza with amendments News
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Hamas responds to US ceasefire proposal for Gaza with amendments

Hamas responded to a US-backed ceasefire proposal for Gaza, senior Hamas official Osama Hamdan told Al-Mayadeen TV on Tuesday. While expressing support for the broad outlines of the plan, the Palestinian group submitted “a few remarks” aimed at aligning the proposal with its positions.

The US plan, presented by President Joe Biden last month, envisions a three-phase process starting with an initial six-week ceasefire. Israel would release some Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Hamas freeing Israeli hostages. Israeli forces would withdraw from populated areas, allowing displaced civilians to return, while humanitarian aid to Gaza would surge. Subsequent stages would negotiate a permanent ceasefire, full Israeli exit from Gaza and release of all remaining hostages.

However, Hamdan said Hamas seeks amendments to ensure the ceasefire is permanent from the outset and stipulates complete Israeli military withdrawal. A Hamas official told the media that its response to the US ceasefire plan affirms the aim to end hostilities in Gaza.

While asserting that the Palestinian militant group is capable of continuing military operations, Hamdan said Hamas recognizes the need to come to an agreement on a ceasefire and end the violence. The amendments were decided following consultations among Hamas leaders inside and outside Gaza, according to Hamdan, who said, “We reiterated our previous stance. I believe there are no big gaps. The ball is now in the Israeli courtyard.”

Hamas welcomed the UN Security Council resolution passed Monday supporting the US ceasefire plan, according to Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken initially called the Hamas reply a “hopeful sign” but said a deal ultimately depends on “the word coming from Gaza and from the Hamas leadership.” After reviewing Hamas’s proposed changes, Blinken said some were workable and some were not. He criticized Hamas for delaying its response and for making new demands, saying, “It’s time for the haggling to stop and the ceasefire to start. Israel accepted the proposal as it is, Hamas didn’t. It is clear what needs to happen.”

Qatari and Egyptian officials, who are mediating between the sides, confirmed they received the response from the Palestinian factions at a Tuesday meeting in Doha with a joint Hamas-PIJ delegation. The Qatari Foreign Ministry said the officials will consider Hamas’ response and cooperate with them in order to reach an agreement, in the ongoing efforts to end the war.