Hamas prepares response to Israel ceasefire proposal


Hamas is studying and preparing a response to Israel’s latest proposal for a 40-day ceasefire in the war in the Gaza Strip.

This is in exchange for the release of numerous hostages held since the Palestinian militant group’s attacks on October 7.

The Hamas delegation returned to Qatar after the latest talks in Cairo and said they would “discuss the ideas and the proposal… We are keen to respond as quickly as possible,” a Hamas source told AFP.

Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, described the terms of the ceasefire as “extraordinarily generous”. Mediators from Egypt and Qatar have been asked to increase pressure on Hamas to accept the latest proposal.

Pres. US Joe Biden called on Egypt and Qatar “to make every effort to secure the release of hostages held by Hamas”, saying it was “the only obstacle” to securing relief for civilians in the besieged strip .

The USA, Egypt and Qatar have been trying for months to achieve a new agreement between Israel and Hamas. During a week-long ceasefire in November, 80 Israeli hostages were exchanged for 240 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons.

Blinken stressed the need for Hamas to “decide quickly” on the latest proposal. He said at a special meeting of the World Economic Forum that he was “hopeful that they will make the right decision”.

Sameh Shoukry, Egypt’s foreign minister, said at the same meeting that “the proposal took into account the views of both sides”.

“We are hopeful,” he added.

According to Israel, there are still around 129 hostages being held in Gaza – 34 of them who are believed to have already died.

Hamas’ attack resulted in the death of approximately 1,170 people in Israel.

Israel’s retaliatory offensive claimed the lives of at least 34,488 people, mostly women and children, according to the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health.