Israel says studying Hamas response to ceasefire deal

Israeli spy agency Mossad says it is studying Hamas's response to a ceasefire proposal that mediators have been trying to finalise for weeks to put an end to Tel Aviv's war on the Gaza Strip.

“The mediators of the hostage deal have given the negotiating team Hamas’ response to the hostage deal outline. Israel is examining the response and will respond to the mediators,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said in a statement released on behalf of Mossad.

The proposal would include a deal to release the remaining hostages in the besieged enclave, which are believed to be around 120, and also would include a ceasefire in the besieged enclave.

Hamas has stressed on multiple occasions that any deal it agrees to would have to include a full end to the war, including the complete withdrawal of Israel’s military from Gaza.

Israel’s government, led by Netanyahu, however, has stated it would only accept a deal that would include temporary pauses in the fighting and has vowed to continue the war until Hamas is eliminated.

Axios reporter Barak Ravid posted on X, citing a senior Israeli official, that Hamas’s response “makes it possible to move forward to individual negotiations on the issues that remain in dispute”, but that even if this were to happen those individual negotiations could take another several weeks.

In May, US President Joe Biden made the current ceasefire deal on the table public, which is a multi-stage deal that would see the release of hostages in exchange for the pullback of troops.

While Biden has blamed Hamas for not accepting the deal, the one outlined by Biden appears identical to the agreement Hamas had accepted at the beginning of May. That deal was later rejected by Israel, which launched an invasion of southern Gaza’s Rafah as a response.

Hamas’ Political Bureau chief has also contacted Qatari and Egyptian mediators as means of keeping up discussion about underway efforts at reaching a potential truce deal that could end the Israeli war on the besieged territory.

The movement announced the information in a statement on Thursday.

“In recent hours, the fighter brother Ismail Haniyeh conducted phone calls with the mediator brothers in Qatar and Egypt,” the statement said.

The conversations addressed “the ideas that the movement is discussing with them (the mediators), with the aim of reaching an agreement that puts an end to the brutal aggression to which our proud people are being subjected in Gaza”.

The regime has been waging the war since October 7 following Al-Aqsa Storm, a retaliatory operation by Gaza’s resistance movements, during which hundreds were taken captive.

The war has so far claimed the lives of nearly 38,000 Palestinians, most of them women, children, and adolescents.

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