Cease-Fire Proposal Under Review By Hamas – What Are the Key Amendments?

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Hamas has responded to a U.S.-backed proposal for a cease-fire in Gaza, seeking amendments to the deal as mediators work towards a resolution to the eight-month conflict. The reply falls short of outright acceptance but keeps negotiations alive for a possible halt to the war.

Foreign ministries of Qatar and Egypt, along with the United States, are mediating the discussions and have acknowledged receiving Hamas’ response. White House national security spokesman, John Kirby, confirmed the receipt of the reply and stated that they are currently evaluating it.

Hamas spokesman Jihad Taha mentioned that the response included amendments confirming the cease-fire, withdrawal, reconstruction, and prisoner exchange, without providing further details. Despite expressing support for the general framework of the deal, Hamas officials remain cautious about Israel’s commitment to implementing its terms, particularly regarding a permanent end to the fighting and full Israeli withdrawal in exchange for the release of hostages.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is actively involved in the negotiations, emphasizing the importance of Hamas’ acceptance of the proposal. Blinken’s continued efforts reflect the international community’s support for the plan, as demonstrated by the recent U.N. Security Council vote in favor.

Hamas, along with the Islamic Jihad militant group, has signaled readiness to engage positively in reaching an agreement and prioritizing a complete halt to the war. The proposal aims to end a conflict that has resulted in numerous casualties and displacement of civilians in Gaza.

Further efforts to address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza were discussed at a Gaza aid conference in Jordan, where the U.S. pledged additional aid to support Palestinians in the region. However, challenges remain as the U.N. human rights office investigates potential war crimes committed by both Israeli forces and Palestinian militants during recent raids and operations.

As negotiations continue, the focus remains on achieving a lasting cease-fire and ensuring the safe return of hostages. Both sides are navigating political pressures and complexities in the pursuit of a comprehensive agreement that addresses the root causes of the conflict in Gaza. The path towards lasting peace in the region hinges on mutual trust, effective communication, and genuine commitment from all parties involved.