Hamas Proposes New Hostage Deal Amid Ongoing Conflict

Tue Jan 02 2024
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DOHA: Hamas, through Qatari and Egyptian intermediaries, presented Israel with a proposal for a new hostage deal on Sunday, signalling a potential shift toward negotiations while hostilities in Gaza persist.

The three-phase proposal included pauses in fighting, each lasting more than a month, in exchange for the release of hostages. The initial phase involved Israel withdrawing forces from Gaza, accompanied by the release of approximately 40 hostages and Palestinian prisoners. The final phase aimed to conclude the conflict, releasing soldiers held hostage in Gaza.

Israeli officials discussed the Hamas proposal, deeming it unacceptable, and communicated this stance to Qatari and Egyptian mediators on Monday. Despite the rejection, the move indicates Hamas’s willingness to engage in negotiations while the conflict continues. The Israeli official stated that the initial proposal was off-base, prompting mediators to work on a more acceptable version. The negotiations are in an early stage, with neither significant progress nor a deadlock evident.

In a broader context, Egypt had proposed restarting talks on a three-phase deal, facilitated by a technocratic government establishment in Gaza with support from the US, Egypt, and Qatar. The third phase of this proposal aimed to end the war, facilitate an Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, and establish a non-Hamas-affiliated technocratic government.

While Israel rejected the specific Hamas proposal, the mere engagement in discussions suggests a potential avenue for dialogue amid the ongoing conflict. The situation remains fluid, with mediators working on refining the proposal in an effort to bring the parties closer to an acceptable agreement. The rejection by Israel emphasizes the challenges and complexities involved in reaching a consensus, but the willingness of both sides to explore negotiations is a notable development.


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