© Reuters. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Qatar’s Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al Thani at Lusail Palace, in Doha, Qatar, Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2024. Mark Schi
By Nidal al-Mughrabi, Samia Nakhoul and Andrew Mills
DOHA (Reuters) – Hamas has proposed a ceasefire plan that will quiet the weapons in Gaza for four-and-a-half months, throughout which all hostages would go free, Israel would withdraw its troops from the Gaza Strip and an settlement could be reached on an end to the war.
The militant group’s proposal – a response to a suggestion despatched final week by Qatari and Egyptian mediators – comes amid the most important diplomatic push but for an prolonged halt to the combating, and was met with hope and reduction within the Gaza Strip.
There was no speedy public response from Israel, which has stated it won’t pull its troops out of Gaza till Hamas is worn out.
According to a draft doc seen by Reuters, the Hamas counterproposal envisages three phases of a truce, lasting 45 days every. Militants would trade remaining Israeli hostages they captured on Oct. 7 for Palestinian prisoners. The reconstruction of Gaza would start, Israeli forces would withdraw utterly, and our bodies and stays could be exchanged.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in a single day in Israel after assembly the leaders of mediators Qatar and Egypt in essentially the most critical diplomatic push of the war thus far aimed toward reaching an prolonged truce.
A supply shut to the negotiations stated the Hamas counterproposal didn’t require a assure of a everlasting ceasefire on the outset, however that an end to the war would have to be agreed throughout the truce earlier than the ultimate hostages have been freed.
According to the doc, throughout the first 45-day part, all Israeli ladies hostages, males beneath 19 and the aged and sick could be launched, in trade for the discharge of Palestinian ladies and kids from Israeli jails. Israel would additionally withdraw its troops from populated areas throughout the first part.
Implementation of the second part wouldn’t start till the edges conclude “indirect talks over the requirements needed to end the mutual military operations and return to complete calm”.
The second part would come with the discharge of remaining male hostages and “the withdrawal of Israeli forces outside the borders of all areas of the Gaza Strip”.
Bodies and stays could be exchanged throughout the third part. The truce would additionally enhance the circulate of meals and different help to Gaza’s determined civilians, who’re dealing with starvation and dire shortages of primary provides.
“People are optimistic, at the same time they pray that this hope turns into a real agreement that will end the war,” stated Yamen Hamad, a father of 4, residing in a U.N. faculty in Deir Al-Balah within the central Gaza Strip.
“People are awaiting news of a ceasefire, they are a bit hopeful despite the continued bombardment,” he instructed Reuters by way of a messaging app.
Israel started its navy offensive in Gaza after militants from Hamas-ruled Gaza killed 1,200 individuals and took 253 hostages in southern Israel on Oct. 7. Gaza’s Health Ministry says at the least 27,585 Palestinians have been confirmed killed in Israel’s navy marketing campaign, with hundreds extra feared buried beneath rubble.
(This story has been refiled to take away redundant ‘to’ within the headline)