Hamas confirmed that it was considering a three-stage proposal for a truce in Gaza, while hard-line members of the Israeli government threatened to collapse the coalition if they did not like any agreement.
The political leader of the Palestinian movement, Ismail Haniyeh, confirmed on Tuesday that he is studying the proposal that was put forward in Paris at the weekend to stop the war and allow the exchange of Israeli and Palestinian prisoners.
Haniyeh said in a statement that the group “is open to discussing any serious and practical initiatives or ideas, provided that they lead to a comprehensive cessation of aggression.”
Hamas also said the plan should ensure “the complete withdrawal of the occupation forces from the Gaza Strip.”
He added that the group's leadership received an invitation to visit Cairo to reach an “integrated vision” regarding the framework agreement.
Hamas said in a statement sent to Reuters that the proposal includes three stages. The plan was sent to Gaza to obtain the opinion of Hamas leaders there.
The statement stated, “The Hamas leadership will meet to discuss the paper and express its final opinion on it.”
Sources told the news agency that the first phase will include stopping the fighting and releasing the elderly, civilians, women and children hostage.
Deliveries of large quantities of food and medicine to Gaza, which is facing a devastating humanitarian crisis, are scheduled to resume.
The second phase will see the release of Israeli female soldiers, a further increase in aid deliveries, and the restoration of utility services to Gaza. Two sources said that the third phase would witness the release of the bodies of dead Israeli soldiers in exchange for the release of Palestinian prisoners.
The Hamas statement said that the second phase would also include the release of male military recruits.
She added, “Military operations on both sides will stop during the three stages.” She added that the number of Palestinian prisoners who will be released will be left to the negotiation process “at every stage, as the Israeli side prepares to release those who have been sentenced to high sentences.”
The ultimate goal of this phased approach is to end the war and release male soldiers detained in Gaza in exchange for Israel releasing more Palestinian prisoners held in prisons.
An official told Reuters that if Hamas agreed to the framework proposal, it could take days or weeks to iron out the logistical details of the truce and the release of hostages and prisoners.
Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman bin Jassim Al Thani said that the framework discussed in Paris is based on elements of the initial proposal presented by Israel and the counter-proposal presented by Hamas.
“We tried to mix things together to come up with some kind of reasonable ground that brings everyone together,” he said at the Atlantic Council think tank in Washington on Monday.
He added that “good progress” had been made on a potential deal during meetings between intelligence officials from Egypt, Israel and the United States over the weekend.
The Qatari Prime Minister pointed out that Hamas had previously demanded a permanent ceasefire as a precondition for entering negotiations. However, he noted that there is hope that her position has changed.
“I think we have moved from that place to a place that may lead to a permanent ceasefire in the future,” he said.
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement in Gaza announced that it will not enter into any understandings regarding the Israeli hostages without ensuring a comprehensive ceasefire and the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Gaza Strip, the movement’s Secretary-General, Ziad al-Nakhalah, said in a statement on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday that Israel will continue its war in Gaza until “total victory” over Hamas.
He ruled out the release of “thousands” of Palestinian prisoners as part of any agreement to stop the fighting, and said that the army would not withdraw from Gaza.
“I would like to make clear… we will not withdraw the IDF [army] From the Gaza Strip and we will not release thousands of terrorists. “None of this will happen,” he said in a speech in the Eli settlement in the occupied West Bank.
Netanyahu is under great pressure from the families of the remaining prisoners held by Hamas to reach an agreement to secure their release.
Hamas killed at least 1,139 people in Israel and captured about 240 prisoners on October 7, according to Israeli figures.
However, Netanyahu is also being pushed to continue the war by hard-line coalition partners in his government.
Commenting on the truce negotiations reported earlier on Tuesday, far-right Israeli Minister Itamar Ben Gvir appeared to suggest that reaching an agreement with Hamas would lead to the collapse of the government.
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The Minister of Homeland Security is known for his inflammatory comments on the conflict. However, his Jewish Power (Otzma Yehudit) party is a major player in Israel's ruling coalition.
Al Jazeera's Muhammad Jamjoom, reporting from Tel Aviv, said that anonymous Israeli officials confirmed that the government had signed a deal that was presented to Hamas. This includes stopping the fighting and releasing Israeli prisoners in Gaza in exchange for the release of thousands of Palestinian prisoners.
Jamjoom said that while members of the right-wing government oppose the deal, Yair Lapid, the Israeli opposition leader and former prime minister, said he would support the government if it meant returning the prisoners to their homes.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is also expected to arrive in Israel on Saturday on his sixth trip to the region since the war began to discuss post-war scenarios in Gaza, Jamjoom reported.
The proposals were distributed to Hamas as fighting intensified in Gaza.
Heavy Israeli strikes and urban fighting across the blockaded enclave killed another 128 people overnight, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health.
An Israeli “hit squad” also killed three men it described as “terrorists” in a secret operation in a hospital in the occupied West Bank.
Haniyeh said: “The world must put pressure on the occupation to stop these massacres and war crimes, including the policy of torture to which our people are subjected in the areas of the West Bank, executions and arrests.”
Amid escalating fighting, Israel accused about a dozen employees of the United Nations refugee agency for Palestine (UNRWA) of participating in the October 7 attack, prompting major donor countries, including the United States and Germany, to suspend funding.
Haniyeh said that the countries' decision to suspend their contributions is a “clear violation” of the interim ruling issued by the International Court of Justice last week, which called for an increase in humanitarian aid to Gaza.
The Hamas leader stressed that countries that cut aid support “the Israeli occupation through starvation and siege.”
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