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ConflictsMiddle East

Hamas reviewing Israel's latest truce proposal

April 27, 2024

An Egyptian delegation has traveled to Israel to try to revive cease-fire negotiations and seek the return of the remaining hostages to Israel. Israel estimates that about 130 hostages are still in Hamas captivity.

A view of tents set up for displaced Palestinians
Efforts to reignite stalled cease-fire talks came even as Israel plans a ground offensive in the southern Gaza city of RafahImage: Ramadan Abed/REUTERS

Palestinian militant group Hamas said in a statement on Saturday that it was reviewing Israel's latest counterproposal for a cease-fire in Gaza.

"The movement will study this proposal, and upon completion of its study, it will submit its response," Khalil Al-Hayya, Hamas' deputy Gaza chief currently based in Qatar, said of the proposal presented to Egyptian and the Qatari mediators on April 13.

Hamas, recognized as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, and Israel, among others, had earlier submitted a proposal for a permanent cease-fire, which Israel rejected.

After more than six months of the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza, the negotiations remain deadlocked, with Hamas sticking to a demand that any agreement must end the war rather than be a temporary cease-fire.

Egypt as a mediator

The latest effort in the stalled peace process comes as an Egyptian delegation arrived in Israel to revive the negotiations and return the remaining hostages.

Israel estimates that about 130 hostages are still being held by Hamas in Gaza, including 34 the military says are dead.

Israeli media, citing anonymous officials, reported that Israel's War Cabinet had discussed options for a truce and hostage release ahead of the Egyptian delegation's visit.

According to Egypt's Al-Qahera News, there has been "noticeable progress in bringing the views of the Egyptian and Israeli delegations closer."

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Friday he saw fresh momentum in talks to end the fighting and return the remaining hostages. The United States joined Germany and 15 other countries in calling on Hamas to release all remaining hostages as a pathway to end the conflict. 

Rafah military plan

Efforts to revive cease-fire negotiations come as Israel is preparing for a military push into Gaza's southern city of Rafah. Overnight into Saturday, witnesses reported Israeli airstrikes around Rafah.

Senior Hamas official Ghazi Hamad told the AFP news agency on Thursday that any such operation would "undoubtedly threaten the negotiations" and underscore that "Israel is interested in continuing the war."

The plan has sparked opposition among the international community due to the presence of hundreds of thousands of displaced civilians seeking refuge there.

WFP warns of looming famine

The conflict began on October 7 with Hamas attacks in southern Israel that killed about 1,200 people and saw some 240 more taken hostage.

Israel's military retaliation has resulted in at least 34,356 deaths in Gaza, predominantly women and children, according to the enclave's Hamas-led Health Ministry.

Vast areas of Gaza are now covered with some 37 million tons of debris that will take years to remove, according to the United Nations. 

The World Food Program said a famine  in Gaza was "a real and dangerous threat."

German police clear pro-Palestinian camp in Berlin

ss/sms (AFP, Reuters)