Ceasefire Countdown: Hamas Submit Response to US Plan – Will Israel Commit?

Gaza City, Gaza Strip – Hamas has delivered its response to a US-backed ceasefire proposal for the ongoing conflict in Gaza, emphasizing the need for a permanent commitment to peace from Israel, a senior Hamas official disclosed to the media. The proposed plan, endorsed by the UN Security Council on Monday night, outlines a six-week ceasefire with the goal of establishing a lasting peace agreement between the feuding parties. Throughout the negotiations, Qatar and Egypt, along with the US, have been actively mediating discussions between Hamas and Israel.

In light of the latest developments, Hamas and its Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) allies have expressed a willingness to engage positively in reaching a resolution. The joint statement issued by Hamas underscores a call for an immediate cessation of hostilities in Gaza and prioritizes the interests of the Palestinian people. Additionally, White House national security spokesperson John Kirby has acknowledged the submission of Hamas’ response and affirmed that US officials are currently assessing the group’s demands.

President Biden’s proposed framework for peace includes an initial six-week ceasefire, with the release of hostages by Hamas in exchange for the freedom of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel. Subsequent phases of the plan involve the complete release of hostages by Hamas and the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza as part of a permanent ceasefire arrangement, subject to further negotiations. Despite these propositions, the specifics of Israel’s counterproposal remain undisclosed.

As the situation unfolds, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has faced internal dissent within his government over the proposed ceasefire agreement, with right-wing members expressing opposition to the perceived concessions to Hamas. Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s recent visit to Tel Aviv witnessed demonstrations calling for a swift resolution to the conflict, reflecting the urgency of peace negotiations for those directly impacted by the violence.

The conflict, which originated with Hamas’ attack on Israel in October, has resulted in the loss of thousands of lives and the capture of numerous hostages. The gravity of the situation in Gaza has prompted international calls for increased aid and support for the affected population, underscoring the urgent need for a sustainable ceasefire and a path towards lasting peace in the region.