Hamas Offers Ceasefire Proposal Based on ‘Unrealistic Demands’

News & Politics

Hamas is still playing for time in ceasefire negotiations. Its latest gambit is another offer to release some of the 100 Israeli hostages it still holds in exchange for “700-1,000” Palestinian prisoners, including 100 terrorists currently serving a life sentence.

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Hamas would release “women, children, elderly, and ill hostages” in the first stage followed by a second stage that would include the release of all remaining hostages and Palestinian prisoners.

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Not surprisingly, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office rejected the proposal out of hand, remarking it was still based on “unrealistic demands.” Hamas’ demands included a permanent cease-fire, Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, the return of displaced Palestinians in the south of the Gaza Strip, and increasing aid without restrictions.

Israel is never going to completely withdraw from Gaza, and anyone who proposes that is living in a dream world. If there’s one overriding goal for Israel to achieve in this war it is to avoid, at all costs, a repeat of the October 7 attack that killed more than 1,200 Jews.

To do that, Israel will need to maintain control over security in Gaza.

It should be pointed out that Hamas has still refused to give the names of Israelis that it is holding. It’s doubtful any hostage deal will go forward unless those names are forthcoming.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu is preparing to unleash an attack on Rafa where about 1.3 million Palestinians and two battalions of Hamas fighters are holed up.

Financial Times:

Netanyahu also said on Friday that he had approved “plans for action” against the southern Gaza city of Rafah, as he sought to increase pressure on Hamas. The premier added that Israel’s military was prepared for both the “operational side” and the evacuation of the population.

Netanyahu has repeatedly said in recent weeks that the next offensive in Gaza would target Rafah, the last major population centre in the shattered territory still controlled by Hamas. Israeli officials believe that about four of Hamas’s remaining battalions are located there, along with potentially some of the group’s senior leadership.

This week, the Israeli military said it was in discussions with international aid groups to establish “humanitarian enclaves” — likely in central Gaza — to move the estimated 1.3mn people at present sheltering in Rafah. The civilian evacuation has been a clear precondition placed on Israel by the administration of US President Joe Biden ahead of any military operation.

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In the background of talks in Doha, Qatar, has threatened to expel senior Hamas leaders from Doha and freeze Hamas bank accounts in Qatar. Egypt and Qatar are both deathly afraid of the refugee problem getting out of control and spilling into their countries. It’s in their interests to end the fighting as soon as possible.

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