Home west asia Hamas Accepts, Israel Has Issues With Cairo Ceasefire Plan

Hamas Accepts, Israel Has Issues With Cairo Ceasefire Plan

Israel is yet to respond formally, but an official was quoted as saying Hamas had approved a 'softened' Egyptian proposal with far-reaching conclusions  which are not acceptable to Israel.
Palestinians react after Hamas accepted a ceasefire proposal from Egypt and Qatar, in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, May 6, 2024. in this screengrab taken from video. (Reuters TV via REUTERS)

RAFAH, GAZA STRIP: Militant group Hamas on Monday agreed to a ceasefire proposal in the seven-month-old war with Israel in Gaza.

In a brief statement which gave no details of the accord, Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh informed Qatari and Egyptian mediators that the group accepted their ceasefire proposal. The announcement comes hours after Israel told residents to evacuate some parts of Rafah, where more than a million displaced people have taken shelter.

Israel is yet to respond formally, but an Israeli official was quoted as saying that Hamas approved a ‘softened’ Egyptian proposal, with far-reaching conclusions which are not acceptable to Israel. The official also said the Hamas announcement appears to be a ruse to cast Israel as the side refusing a deal.

The agreement, should it take effect, would be the first truce since a week-long pause in the fighting in November, and follows months of failed attempts at pausing the fighting to free hostages and allow more aid into Gaza.

There had been concerns that the ceasefire talks being held in Cairo had stalled after Hamas official Izzat al-Rashiq warned that any Israeli operation in Rafah would put the truce talks in jeopardy.

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The city, on the southern edge of the Gaza Strip, has been the last sanctuary for around half of Gaza’s 2.3 million residents, pushed south by Israel’s seven-month-old assault.

Hamas’s statement follows intense negotiations in Cairo on Sunday with CIA director William Burns and Egyptian and Qatari negotiators. Burns, who left for Doha to meet Qatar’s  Prime Minister Mohammed Al Thani, is expected to visit Israel this week.

US President Joe Biden, who spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for half an hour on Monday, is expected to hold a private meeting in the White House with Jordan’s King Abdullah. A White House statement said Biden briefed Netanyahu “on efforts to secure a hostage deal, including through ongoing talks today in Doha, Qatar.”