Hamas Says ‘No Major Issues’ With Truce Deal Draft As Israel Expresses Desire To Restore ‘Sustainable Calm’: Updates

Curated By: Shankhyaneel Sarkar

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Washington/Tel Aviv/Cairo

Children sit in a car trunk, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip. (Image: Reuters)

Hamas said the atmosphere is positive and said it will remain so if there are no new Israeli obstacles while Israeli officials have proposed a ‘sustainable calm’.

A Hamas official said that there are “no major issues” with the latest proposal from Israel and Egypt for a truce in the ongoing war in Gaza. A delegation from the militant group is due Monday in Egypt, where it will respond to Israel’s latest proposal.

Egypt, Qatar and the United States are acting as mediators and are trying to tie Hamas and Israel to long-sought truce in Gaza and release of Israeli hostages held in the coastal enclave after almost seven months of war.

“The atmosphere is positive unless there are new Israeli obstacles,” the official told AFP, requesting anonymity to discuss the negotiations.

Hamas has previously insisted on a permanent ceasefire — a condition Israel has rejected.

A report by news website Axios citing two Israeli officials said that Israel has proposed that it is willing to discuss the “restoration of sustainable calm” after hostages are released. If reports are to be believed then this would be the first time that Israeli leaders have suggested they are open to discussing an end to the war, the news website said.

Hamas senior leader, Khalil al-Hayya, will inform Egyptian and Qatari mediators in Cairo on Monday the group’s response to the truce proposal.

Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday discussed the state of negotiations of the deal that secures the return of hostages held in Gaza since Hamas’s attack on Israel on October 7.

During his talks with Netanyahu, Biden promised ‘ironclad’ support for Israel but reiterated his “clear position” on Israel’s plans to launch a military operation in Rafah saying that the US cannot support it unless Israel ensures full protection of the residents there along with another million internally-displaced Palestinians who are fleeing the war.

He said the US does not believe that Israel will be able to safely evacuate and care for that many civilians.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also arrived Monday in Riyadh kicking off a new crisis tour aimed at finalising the ceasefire and increasing humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip.

The top US diplomat will also visit Jordan and Israel on his seventh visit to the region since the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel. In Saudi Arabia, Blinken is expected to hold new talks with the Saudi leadership on potential normalisation of relations with Israel.

The ongoing war in Gaza has also created problems for the Biden administrations as pro-Palestinian protests rock US universities. The White House insisted Sunday that the protests must remain peaceful as the tally of those arrested across the country, since the wave of demonstrations began at Columbia University in New York earlier this month, reached 900.

Hamas’s October 7 attack resulted in the deaths of about 1,170 people in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of Israeli official figures.

Israel’s retaliatory offensive has killed at least 34,454 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the health ministry in the Hamas-run territory.

A one-week halt to the fighting in November saw 80 Israeli hostages exchanged for 240 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons.

In Israel, protesters have taken to the streets to urge the government to secure the freedom of the 129 hostages who remain in Gaza since being seized by militants on October 7, including 34 the military says are dead.

The war has brought besieged Gaza to the brink of famine, UN and humanitarian officials say, reduced much of the territory to rubble and raised fears of broader conflict.

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