What is the three-phase ceasefire deal Hamas agreed to?

Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh has said the 'ball is now in Israel's court' to accept or reject the proposal

Smoke rises following an Israeli air strike in eastern Rafah on Monday. AP
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Hamas on Monday agreed to a three-phase deal brokered by Egypt and Qatar for a ceasefire in Gaza that Israel said was not acceptable because terms had been “softened”.

The US, which alongside Qatar and Egypt has played a mediation role in the talks, said it was studying the Hamas response and would discuss it with allies in the Middle East.

Hamas said that its chief, Ismail Haniyeh, had informed Qatari and Egyptian mediators that the group accepted their proposal for a ceasefire.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office later said that the truce proposal fell short of Israel's demands but Israel would send a delegation to meet negotiators to try to reach an agreement.

According to the text of the Egyptian-Qatari proposal seen by The National, the deal agreed to by Hamas includes the following points:

Phase 1: 42-day ceasefire

  • Temporary cessation of mutual military operations between the two parties, and the withdrawal of Israeli forces eastward and away from densely populated areas to an area along the border in all areas of Gaza, including the Gaza Valley.
  • Cessation of aviation (military and reconnaissance) in the Gaza Strip for 10 hours a day, and 12 hours on the days of hostage releases.
  • The return of the internally displaced to their original areas of residence and withdrawal from the Gaza Valley, the Netzarim axis and the Kuwait roundabout.
  • From day one, Gaza would be given intensive and sufficient quantities of humanitarian aid, relief materials and fuel. Entry of 600 lorries per day, including 300 for the north and 50 lorries of fuel needed to operate the electricity station and the equipment needed to remove rubble, would be allowed to restore and operate hospitals, health centres and bakeries in all areas of the enclave. This will continue throughout all stages of the agreement.
  • On day three, after the release of three hostages, Israeli forces will withdraw completely from Al Rasheed Street eastward to Salah Al Din Street and dismantle military sites and installations in the area to allow those displaced to return to their areas of residence. They would also allow entry of humanitarian aid from Al Rasheed Street without any obstacles.
  • On day 22, after the release of half of the hostages, including female soldiers, Israeli forces will withdraw from the centre of the Gaza Strip east of Salah Al Din Street to a nearby area along the border.
  • During the first phase, Hamas would release 33 Israeli hostages, both alive or dead, including women (civilians and soldiers), children (under the age of 19, other than soldiers), those over the age of 50, and sick and wounded civilians, in exchange for numbers of detainees in Israeli prisons.
  • Indirect talks will begin between the two parties no later than day 16 to discuss details of the second phase of the agreement and the further exchange of detainees and hostages, including males and soldiers.

Phase 2: Return of 'sustainable calm'

  • An agreement to restore a “sustainable calm” (cessation of military and hostile operations) to Gaza. During this phase, both sides would agree to an exchange of detainees to include all remaining Israeli male hostages including captured soldiers.
  • Israel would agree to a complete withdrawal of its forces from the enclave.

Phase 3: End of blockade and reconstruction

  • The completion of exchanging bodies.
  • Ending the complete blockade on the Gaza Strip.
  • The introduction of a reconstruction plan for three to five years, including homes, complexes, and infrastructure. Parties would also agree on compensation for all those affected, under the supervision of several countries and organisations, including Egypt, Qatar, and the UN.
  • Qatar, Egypt, the US and the UN would be guarantors of the agreement.
Updated: May 07, 2024, 6:52 AM