Feedback | Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Hamas wants Israel to commit to permanent ceasefire, full withdrawal from Gaza

Hamas cannot agree to any deal unless Israel makes a “clear” commitment to a permanent ceasefire and a complete withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, a senior official from the Palestinian militant group said on Tuesday.

Qatar, which alongside the United States and Egypt has been mediating talks between Hamas and Israel, has also urged Israel to provide a clear position that has the backing of its entire government to reach a deal.

“We cannot agree to an agreement that doesn’t secure, guarantee, and ensure a permanent ceasefire, a complete withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and completing a real serious swap deal accordingly,” Osama Hamdan, a Hamas official, told a televised press conference.

A three-phase proposal presented by U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday involved in its first phase a six-week ceasefire when Israeli forces would withdraw from “all populated areas” of Gaza and some hostages – including the elderly and women – would be freed in exchange for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners.

Under that plan, Hamas and Israel would negotiate in the same phase a permanent ceasefire that Biden said would last “as long as Hamas lives up to its commitments.”

In the second phase, Biden said there would be an exchange for all remaining living hostages, including male soldiers, Israeli forces would withdraw from Gaza and the permanent ceasefire would begin.

Hamdan said: “Israel only wants one phase where it takes all its hostages, then it resumes its aggression and war on our people.”

“We ask mediators to get a clear position from the Israeli occupation to commit to a permanent ceasefire and a complete withdrawal,” he added.

Hamas has previously said it viewed the contents of the proposal positively.

The United States said on Sunday that if Hamas accepted the proposed plan it expected Israel to follow suit.

The third phase in the proposal would include a major reconstruction plan for the enclave, which has been devastated by eight months of war, and the return of the remains of dead hostages to their families.

(Reuters)

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