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Proposed ceasefire deal close to demands

A top Hamas leader in Gaza said the latest hostage-for-ceasefire proposal on the table comes closest of any recent offer to meeting the terror group’s demands, according to a report.

Yahya Sinwar weighed on the proposed ceasefire deal via Hamas representatives, claiming the offer — which would see an immediate temporary ceasefire and hostage release — meets a number of the terror group’s requirements but raises caveats as well, Arab mediators told The Wall Street Journal.

The terror group is expected to present a counterproposal soon, as ceasefire and hostage talks continued in Cairo Saturday between the Hamas delegation and Egyptian and Qatari mediators. CIA Director William Burns is also taking part in the talks.

A top Hamas leader in Gaza said the current hostage-for-ceasefire deal proposal on the table is the closest to meeting the terror group’s demands. AP
The current ceasefire proposal would see an immediate temporary ceasefire in the war and hostage exchange.

Both Hamas and Israel, however, are digging in their heels over the terror group’s demand that the deal is conditioned on ending the nearly seven-month-long war.

Taher al-Nono, an advisor to Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh, said the terror group is dealing with the proposals put forward by Egyptian and Qatari mediators “with full seriousness and responsibility,” but added that any hostage deal would require Israel to pull its troops out of Gaza and accept a permanent ceasefire.

“Any agreement to be reached must include our national demands: the complete and permanent ending of the aggression; the full and complete withdrawal of the occupation from Gaza Strip; the return of the displaced to their homes without restriction; and a real prisoner swap deal, in addition to the reconstruction and ending the blockade,” Nono said.

The terms of the latest proposal, which received Israel’s preliminary nod, would amount to between 20 and 33 and hostages being released to Israel in exchange for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners and a weeks-long pause in the fighting, the report said.

Israel, however, refuses to drop its plans for an offensive in Rafah and continued to rebuff calls to end its war with Hamas. 

“Israel will under no circumstances agree to ending the war as part of a deal to free our hostages,” one Israeli official said. Israel also refuses to call off its plans to invade Rafah, the territory’s southernmost city, where an estimated 1.5 million Palestinians are sheltering. 

Israel and Hamas are digging their heels in over the terror group’s demand for a deal to include the the end of the war. AP

Pressure for a deal in the ongoing war has mounted from the international community, with Washington urging the terror group to enter into an agreement. 

The CIA leader, who has been involved in previous negotiations, arrived in Egypt Friday amid the latest talks. The agency declined to comment on Burns’ itinerary. 

A top U.N. official claimed a full-blown famine is now ravaging northern Gaza.

CIA Director William Burns, who has been involved in previous negotiations, arrived in Egypt Friday amid the latest talks. REUTERS

Egypt made concerted efforts to revive hostage negotiations late last month amid the prospect of an Israeli invasion of Rafah, which border’s Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and serves as a vital entry point for aid to the Gaza Strip.

The impending Israeli offensive could devastate humanitarian operations in the territory and put hundreds of thousands of lives at risk, UN officials said. 

Israel, however, reiterated that it will take Rafah with or without a ceasefire, and that it is hashing out a plan for evacuating civilians to a narrow strip of coastal strip in southern Gaza. 

Saturday’s talks came as Qatar is reconsidering its role as a meditator with Hamas, an official familiar with Doha’s thinking said. 

Doha may also call it quits on hosting Hamas’ political headquarters, although it’s unclear if that would result in the terror group’s delegates being given the boot, the report said.

With Post wires

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