Uncertainty after Hamas seeks amendments in ceasefire proposal

The militant group said their priority was to bring a 'complete stop' to the war 

ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS/ Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh and Islamic Jihad leader Ziyad Al Nakhalaj discuss the ceasefire proposal before they response to Qatari and Egyptian mediators in Doha | Reuters

Uncertainty still prevailed over the ceasefire proposal mooted by the US with regard to the Israel-Hamas war after the militant group reportedly sought some amendments to the proposal, stating that their priority was to bring a 'complete stop' to the war. 

Hamas submitted its formal response on Tuesday to Egyptian and Qatari mediators to the proposal outlined by U.S. President Joe Biden on May 31.

Though the mediators did not reveal the details of Hamas's response, Hamas political bureau Izzat al-Rishq said on Wednesday in a statement the group's answer was "responsible, serious and positive" and "opens up a wide pathway" for an accord.  

Hamas spokesperson Jihad Taha too claimed the response included "amendments that confirm the ceasefire, withdrawal, reconstruction and prisoner exchange."

Though the United States has said Israel accepted its proposal, Netanyahu has not publicly acknowledged this. However, Hamas's response has elicited a reaction from Israel, which stated that the militant group's response was tantamount to a rejection. An Israeli official told Reuters on Tuesday the country had received Hamas' answer from the mediators and that Hamas "changed all of the main and most meaningful parameters." The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Hamas "has rejected the proposal for a hostage release that was presented by President Biden.

The US has said it is evaluating Hamas’ formal response to its Gaza ceasefire proposal. However, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in Tel Aviv to meet Israeli officials, called this a "hopeful sign" but said it was not conclusive. "More important is the word coming from Gaza and from the Hamas leadership in Gaza. That's what counts, and that's what we don't have yet," Blinken told reporters in Tel Aviv.

What's Biden's ceasefire plan?

According to the ceasefire proposal mooted by Biden, there will be an initial six-week ceasefire and phased release of Israeli hostages in Gaza in exchange for Palestinians jailed in Israel.

In the three-phase plan, the Israeli military will withdraw from the populated areas of Gaza and the release of some hostages while "a permanent end to hostilities" will be negotiated through mediators.


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