Hamas considers new truce proposal before Eid Al Fitr

Negotiations continue in Cairo as Israeli incursion into Rafah looms

Israeli troops have withdrawn from Khan Younis in southern Gaza, leaving behind destroyed buildings. EPA
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Hamas is considering a new framework for a truce in Gaza proposed during the latest round of negotiations in Cairo before Eid Al Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan.

The move comes as displaced Palestinians return to Khan Younis, in southern Gaza, where they have been confronted by the devastation of the war, after the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the city.

“During the last round of negotiations in Cairo, Hamas was handed over the Israeli position after efforts by the mediators of Egypt, Qatar and the US,” the militant group said.

“Hamas appreciates the great efforts made by the mediators, and while the movement is keen to reach an agreement that puts an end to the aggression against our people, the Israeli position remains stubborn and has not responded to any of the demands of our people and our resistance.

“Despite this, the movement’s leadership is studying the submitted proposal with all national responsibility and will inform the mediators of its response once this is completed.”

A Hamas source told AFP that mediators from Qatar, Egypt and the US suggested an alternative temporary ceasefire for the war in Gaza, which has raged for six months. The three-part proposal would halt fighting for six weeks to allow hostages held by Hamas to be exchanged for Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails.

After months of fierce fighting, Israel announced at the weekend that it withdrew its forces from Khan Younis to allow troops to recuperate in preparation for the next phase of the war, including an incursion into Rafah. More than a million displaced Palestinians have sought shelter in the city, on the border with Egypt.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said a date was set to send troops into the city. Foreign powers and humanitarian groups have urged Israel not to carry out an operation in Rafah over fears it would cause mass civilian casualties.

Mr Netanyahu and Israeli military commanders have insisted that an operation in the city is necessary to achieve victory over Hamas.

“It will happen – there is a date,” Mr Netanyahu said in a video.

In response, the US, Israel's main ally, repeated its objections to a military operation in Rafah, saying it would “ultimately hurt Israel's security”.

Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said it was “the right time for a truce”, as strikes continued to pummel Gaza.

More than 33,100 Palestinians have been killed since October 7, Gaza's health authorities said. The war began when Hamas led an attack on Israel that killed about 1,200 people.

Updated: April 09, 2024, 9:11 AM