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Hamas accepts Gaza ceasefire proposal from Egypt and Qatar

Hamas has announced its acceptance of a ceasefire proposal put forward by Egypt and Qatar, aiming to end the seven-month conflict with Israel in Gaza. In response, Israel stated its intention to send a delegation for negotiations, though it cautioned that the proposal does not meet all its requirements.

Hamas’s acceptance came after its leader, Ismail Haniyeh, conveyed the decision to the Qatari prime minister and Egyptian intelligence minister. However, Israel reiterated its reservations about the proposal, emphasizing its commitment to an ongoing offensive in Rafah, a city in southern Gaza.

Prior to Israel’s response, Palestinians celebrated the news, while in Tel Aviv, families of hostages urged Israeli leaders to accept the deal.

Details of the agreed-upon proposals by Hamas remain unclear, raising questions about whether it refers to the recent ceasefire proposal or a modified version. The latest framework, which includes the release of hostages and Palestinian prisoners in exchange for temporary calm, awaits Israel’s full agreement.

After extensive discussions in Doha between CIA Director Bill Burns and Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, mediators persuaded Hamas to accept a three-part deal, placing the onus on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to respond.

The White House confirmed Hamas’s response to the proposed deal, indicating President Biden’s awareness of the situation. However, it refrained from commenting on the specifics of the deal, while emphasizing the importance of reaching an agreement for the hostages and Palestinian people.

Israel’s directive for Palestinians in Rafah to evacuate raised concerns of an imminent assault on the city, where Hamas is believed to have regrouped. Despite Hamas’s acceptance of the deal, Israel’s military operations in Gaza continue, with efforts ongoing to expedite the hostage release.

Netanyahu faces internal pressure from his coalition’s far-right faction not to accept the ceasefire proposal and to prioritize the destruction of Hamas in Rafah. However, there are calls from the Israeli public, including hostage families, for Netanyahu to accept the deal.

Benny Gantz, a member of Israel’s war cabinet, emphasized the urgency of hostage return over military action in Rafah. The Hostages Families Forum urged all parties involved to seize the opportunity and secure the return of all hostages.

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