Hamas says ready to discuss Gaza deal without ‘permanent’ ceasefire

A senior Hamas official has stated that the Palestinian group is ready to hold talks about releasing hostages in the Gaza Strip without the precondition of a “complete and permanent ceasefire”.

“This step was by-passed as the [Qatari] mediators pledged that as long as the prisoner negotiations continued, the ceasefire would continue,” the top Hamas official told AFP.

The group is reportedly willing to drop its demand that any cease-fire deal be permanent in nature, according to The Associated Press.

Hamas has previously put a permanent ceasefire as a requirement to start talks on a hostage swap.

Two officials from the Palestinian group also told Reuters on Sunday Hamas is waiting for a response from Israel on a ceasefire proposal.

“We have left our response with the mediators and are waiting to hear the occupation’s response,” one of the officials said, five days after Hamas accepted key parts of a US truce plan.

The three-phase plan was put forward by US President Joe Biden, and is being mediated by Qatar and Egypt. It seeks to end the war and free around 120 Israeli captives being held in Gaza.

Another Palestinian official, with knowledge of the truce talks, said Israel was in talks with the Qataris.

“They have discussed with them Hamas’ response and they promised to give them Israel’s response within days,” the official told Reuters.

Citing an unnamed source, the newspaper Haaretz reported that Israel had presented new demands in the ongoing ceasefire talks after Hamas agreed to the latest terms. The new Israeli demands could delay the agreement, the daily added.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that any ceasefire deal reached must allow his country to continue its fighting on Gaza until war objectives are attained.

Netanyahu listed – in a statement – Israel’s five conditions that he says are non-negotiable when reaching a deal with Hamas.

He stated the deal must ban weapon smuggling to Hamas through the Gaza-Egypt border, and should not allow thousands of fighters to go back to the north of the Strip.

Israel will also “maximise” the number of live captives returned, the statement added.

Months of on-again off-again cease-fire talks have stumbled over Hamas’ demand that any deal include a complete end to the war. Netanyahu has offered to pause the fighting but not end it until Israel reaches its goals of destroying Hamas’ military and governing capabilities and returning all hostages held by the group.

Israel, flouting a United Nations Security Council resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire, has faced international condemnation amid its continued brutal offensive on Gaza since an Oct. 7 attack by Hamas.

More than 38,000 Palestinians have since been killed, mostly women and children, and over 87,700 others injured, according to local health authorities.

Nearly nine months into the Israeli war, vast tracts of Gaza lie in ruins amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water and medicine.

Human rights organizations have warned that thousands of people in the besieged enclave are facing the risk of famine amid ongoing Israeli devastating onslaught.

› Subscribe


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.

More Articles