Qatar says Hamas’s response to the truce proposal is “generally positive.” News of the Israeli war on Gaza
The Qatari mediator said that Hamas gave a “generally positive” response to the proposed truce agreement with Israel, as the Palestinian movement reiterated its demand for an end to the Israeli attack on Gaza.
During a press conference on Tuesday with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman bin Jassim Al Thani described Hamas’ reaction to the proposal as “generally positive,” without providing further details.
Blinken said that Hamas’ response to the proposal brokered by Qatar, Egypt and the United States was shared with Israeli officials.
Blinken on Lightning tour in the Middle EastHe said he would discuss the response with Israeli officials when he visits the country on Wednesday.
Speaking to reporters in Doha on Tuesday, Blinken said the deal was “necessary.”
“There is still a lot of work to be done. But we still believe that an agreement is possible and indeed necessary, and we will continue to work relentlessly to achieve it.”
Hamas said in a statement that its leaders reviewed the “comprehensive ceasefire agreement… in a positive spirit,” including details about securing relief, shelter, reconstruction, lifting the siege that has paralyzed it for 17 years, and completing the “prisoner exchange process.”
Qatar is working with the United States and Egypt to broker a truce that would include a long cessation of fighting and the release of hostages held by Hamas.
Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed Al Thani said that there are a number of challenges that mediators face during the talks, and that events on the ground in Gaza affect the course of the negotiations.
He added: “We hope to see it bear fruit soon.”
Earlier, Blinken met with the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
I met Amir Sheikh @TamimBinHamad In Doha to discuss efforts aimed at securing the release of all remaining hostages held by Hamas. We appreciate Qatar’s partnership and its indispensable mediation role. pic.twitter.com/NYUp4NvPk7
– Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) February 6, 2024
The proposed deal was drafted more than a week ago by the heads of American and Israeli intelligence in a meeting with Egyptian and Qatari officials.
Hamas has previously said that any agreement must lead to a final end to the war. Israel said it would not stop the war permanently until Hamas was eliminated.
Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said that Hamas’ response to the deal is being studied by all parties involved in the mediation process.
He added that Hamas’ response was conveyed by the Qatari mediator to the Mossad. A statement issued Tuesday by Israel’s foreign intelligence agency, Mossad, to the Prime Minister’s Office said its details were being carefully evaluated by officials involved in the negotiations.
40 day truce?
Sources close to the talks said that the truce will last at least 40 days, during which the fighters will release civilians from among the remaining hostages they are holding. This will be followed by other stages, to hand over the soldiers and the bodies of the hostages, in exchange for the release of Palestinians imprisoned in Israel.
The only truce so far, in November, was initially agreed for just four days and was extended by a week. Hamas then released 110 hostages in exchange for the release of 240 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons.
Most of the blockaded enclave’s 2.3 million residents have been displaced, facing severe shortages of food, water, medicine and shelter, and the majority of Gaza is now in ruins after nearly four months of Israeli bombing.
Israel began its military offensive in Gaza after Hamas militants killed 1,139 people and took about 150 hostage in southern Israel on October 7, according to an Al Jazeera tally based on official Israeli figures.
At least 27,585 people have been confirmed killed in the Israeli military campaign, and thousands more are feared buried under the rubble, according to Palestinian health authorities in Gaza.
More than 66,000 others were injured, according to the Palestinian authorities.
In his statements, Blinken outlined the United States’ vision for the region, stressing Israeli integration. He pointed to ongoing American efforts to promote normalization deals, which critics say marginalize the Palestinians and do little to address the political problems that underlie the conflict.
His visit comes amid statements from Israel that it plans to expand its ground attacks in Gaza, especially in the southern Rafah governorate, which is crowded with internally displaced Palestinians.
Rafah, located on the Egyptian border, is where more than half of Gaza’s population has sought refuge and now lives in increasingly miserable conditions.
UN humanitarian monitors said on Tuesday that Israeli evacuation orders now cover two-thirds of Gaza’s territory, pushing thousands of people each day towards border areas.
Egypt warned that the Israeli deployment along the border would threaten the peace treaty that the two countries signed more than four decades ago. Egypt fears that the expansion of fighting into the Rafah area will push terrified Palestinian civilians across the border, a scenario that Egypt said it is determined to prevent.
Blinken, who met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo earlier on Tuesday, repeatedly said that Palestinians should not be forced out of Gaza.
Many have criticized the United States and the Secretary of State himself for not taking a tougher tone with Israeli officials, even as they have publicly contradicted American positions on the future of Palestine and military action and humanitarian aid in Gaza.
Marwan Bishara, Al Jazeera’s chief political analyst, said that both Blinken and Biden were “a leading party in the conflict.”
Bishara said: “They are the ones who supported the Israeli aggression, financially, militarily and diplomatically.”
He added that the Biden administration must “change its tone” and “impose its will on the Netanyahu government.”
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