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Hamas leader comments on possible ceasefire

Ismail Haniyeh has said the militant group is ready to accept a deal consistent with the proposal pushed by US President Joe Biden

Hamas political chief Ismail Haniyeh has suggested that the Palestinian militant group is prepared to make a ceasefire deal with Israel along the lines of a compromise promoted by the administration of US President Joe Biden.

Speaking in a televised speech marking the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha on Sunday, the Qatar-based billionaire said Hamas wants an agreement that would end the fighting in Gaza and lead to an exchange of hostages for Palestinians held in Israeli jails. Such an accord would require all Israeli forces to withdraw from the Palestinian enclave.

“Hamas and the [Palestinian] groups are ready for a comprehensive deal which entails a ceasefire, withdrawal from the strip, the reconstruction of what was destroyed, and a comprehensive swap deal,” Haniyeh said. He added that Hamas showed “great seriousness and flexibility” to reach an agreement that would stop the bloodshed in Gaza.

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The Hamas response was consistent with the ceasefire principles put forward by Biden, who announced the three-phase proposal late last month, and a UN Security Council resolution calling for the plan to be implemented, Haniyeh said.

Israeli officials have claimed that Hamas demanded unacceptable revisions to the ceasefire offer. A senior Hamas leader told Reuters that the group’s requested changes were “not significant.”

West Jerusalem also has reportedly insisted on tweaks to the US-backed plan. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that any halt in combat operations will be temporary until Israel achieves “absolute victory,” including the destruction of Hamas as a governing authority and security threat. He said that in announcing the proposal, Biden left out the fact that Israel agreed only to discuss an end to the war in the second phase – not to permanently stop the fighting.

READ MORE: Biden’s Gaza peace push suffers another setback

Over 37,000 Palestinians have been killed since the war began last October, according to Gaza health authorities. The conflict started when Hamas launched surprise attacks against southern Israeli villages, killing more than 1,100 people and taking hundreds of hostages back to the Gaza Strip.


June 17, 2024 at 03:16AM

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