Hamas proposes three-stage Gaza ceasefire plan – Reuters — RT World News

Hamas responded to a US-Israel-backed ceasefire proposal issued by mediators from Egypt and Qatar last week with a counter-proposal aimed at achieving a permanent end to the conflict in Gaza, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

The draft Hamas plan, seen by the news agency, proposes a ceasefire in three stages for a period of 135 days, culminating in a cessation of hostilities and the withdrawal of Israeli forces.

The first phase will see Hamas fighters release the remaining Israeli hostages from Gaza in exchange for the release of up to 1,500 Palestinian prisoners held in Israel, Reuters reported. Subsequent stages will include beginning the reconstruction of the devastated Gaza area, and exchanging the remains of people killed in the four-month war.

The agreement also stipulates that an agreement be reached to permanently end the conflict by the end of the 45-day third phase. The truce will also allow more food, medical supplies and other forms of aid to be delivered to 2.3 million Gazans, many of whom have been displaced by the violence amid warnings of a worsening humanitarian crisis.

Hamas' proposal was issued in response to an Israeli plan sent last month calling for a six-week ceasefire and a gradual exchange of hostages with Palestinian prisoners. In a week-long truce in November, 110 Israeli hostages were released in exchange for the release of 240 Palestinians detained in Israeli prisons.

Israel has not yet officially responded to Hamas' counteroffer, but an unnamed official told Israeli media that the proposal came as a surprise. “uninitiated” The Guardian reported on Wednesday. Another official told the country's Channel 12 news that Hamas' proposal indicates this “Refuse to deal.” The outlet said.

US President Joe Biden said on Tuesday that Hamas responded to Israel's call for a truce but did so “It seems a little higher” Adding that negotiations are continuing.

Biden's top diplomat, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, arrived in Israel overnight as part of Washington's efforts to combat escalating violence in the Middle East linked to the war in Gaza. Many world leaders have warned that the situation could expand into a broader regional conflict.

At least 27,585 people have been killed so far in the bombing of the Gaza Strip, according to Palestinian health officials. The United Nations says that about 85% of Gaza's population were displaced during the conflict.

The Israeli military campaign was launched in response to an October 7, 2023, cross-border Hamas incursion into its territory, where it killed about 1,200 people and took 240 hostage, according to Israeli officials.

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