March 4, 2024

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Latest ceasefire proposal between Israel and Hamas drops details of Gaza administration: NPR

Latest ceasefire proposal between Israel and Hamas drops details of Gaza administration: NPR

An Israeli combat tank moves along the border between the Gaza Strip and southern Israel on Wednesday as battles continue between Israel and Hamas.

Jacques Guez/AFP via Getty Images

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Jacques Guez/AFP via Getty Images

An Israeli combat tank moves along the border between the Gaza Strip and southern Israel on Wednesday as battles continue between Israel and Hamas.

Jacques Guez/AFP via Getty Images

TEL AVIV, Israel – Egypt's revised proposal to end the fighting in Gaza calls for an extended humanitarian ceasefire, leaving open the question of what future Palestinian rule in the West Bank and Gaza Strip will look like.

The new draft is the latest version of the plan released earlier this week. NPR obtained this message from a Palestinian official and it was confirmed by an Egyptian source close to the ceasefire negotiations. The plan aims to chart a path leading to an end to hostilities: getting more aid into Gaza, exchanging more Israeli hostages held in Gaza for Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons, and Ending the devastating Israeli air and ground campaign in Gaza.

Since the October 7 attacks on southern Israel, which Israeli officials say killed more than 1,200 people and took 240 hostage, the Israeli military has killed more than 21,000 Palestinians, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health.

An Israeli official said that the Israeli Defense Cabinet discussed the initial issue The Egyptian proposal came out late Monday after several news organizations reported it publicly, adding to the public pressure Israel faces to end the current phase of the war due to the high civilian death toll and the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

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A Palestinian official said that Egyptian officials delivered the revised version of the proposal to Palestinian leaders in the West Bank late Tuesday, and Palestinian leaders are scheduled to meet in Egypt in the coming days to discuss the matter further. The Egyptian source close to the talks said that Hamas and Islamic Jihad support the broad outlines of the proposal.

The proposal could provide a road map that points a way forward, but a final agreement is likely to be a long way off.

Highlights of Egypt's recent ceasefire proposal

In the first phase, which will last 10 days, there will be a complete cessation of hostilities by both Israel and Hamas. Hamas will release all civilians in its possession, and Israel will release a mutually agreed upon number of Palestinian prisoners. Israeli forces will Withdrawal from residential areas in Gaza and allowing freedom of movement of citizens from south to north and the movement of vehicles and trucks. It will also allow free entry of humanitarian aid, including medicines, medical supplies, fuel and food into all areas of Gaza.

In a subsequent seven-day phase, Hamas will release all the female Israeli soldiers it holds in exchange for more Palestinian detainees and prisoners. The agreement will also include the transfer of all bodies held by both sides since the start of operations.

The final stage stipulates “negotiations lasting up to one month regarding the release of all Israeli recruits (males) held by Hamas in exchange for an agreed upon number of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prisons.” Israeli forces will Redeployment outside the Gaza borders, according to the proposal, While all air activities remain suspended, Hamas is committed to a complete cessation of all military activities against Israel.

It is unclear whether Israel is prepared to negotiate on the basis of this proposal. Qatar has led previous negotiations, helping to broker a week-long ceasefire in late November that led to this exchange 105 Hamas is holding hostage about 240 Palestinians in Israeli prisons.

The previous plan established a new governance plan for Gaza

The original Egyptian plan published earlier this week called for the formation of a new governing body of Palestinians to oversee the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza. It would guide the post-war reconstruction of Gaza and provide for possible future elections to form a national unity government.

This part of the plan was dropped from the latest two-page version of the proposal, but future Palestinian leadership is expected to be discussed in talks with Egypt and is expected to be a crucial part of any agreement.

In a statement, Hamas did not categorically reject the latest proposal, saying that it “received initiatives and proposals from several countries” for a permanent truce.

The extremist Islamic group said: “Our people do not wait for the temporary truces that the occupation is violating with more massacres and heinous war crimes against civilians and innocent people.”

The leadership of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank welcomed the recent Egyptian proposal for a ceasefire. Palestinian Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh said, in statements on Wednesday, that any proposal for future leadership in the West Bank and Gaza Strip must not circumvent the internationally recognized Palestine Liberation Organization. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu He said The current Palestinian leadership has failed to condemn the October 7 attacks and is unfit to govern Gaza.

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Israel did not provide any immediate public response to the revised plan.

Obstacles continue to impede the delivery of aid to Gaza

The latest diplomatic efforts came as Gaza was recovering from another communications outage. Although cell phone and Internet service were gradually restored, they had been out for a long time, according to the main service provider there. Telecommunications company PalTel announced Tuesday evening that the damaged infrastructure led to a service outage.

Humanitarian agencies and first responders say that without internet or cell phone service, aid workers will be unable to distribute aid.

Communications are just one obstacle that the United Nations says makes it more difficult to provide aid to Gaza's 2.3 million people, more than 85% of whom have been internally displaced since the start of the war. Intense fighting, closed roads and fuel shortages have also contributed to the worsening humanitarian crisis.

Talk to NPR Morning edition Juliette Touma, a spokeswoman for UNRWA, the UN relief agency focusing on the Palestinian situation in Gaza, said on Tuesday that the humanitarian situation in Gaza had become more dire at the moment.

“The needs on the ground are huge,” she said. “the people [have] “They have lost everything, and they need everything.”

“Now, with the rainy season, everything from warm clothes to blankets,” Touma said. “But the most urgent thing is food and water, and I think protection and safety are above all.”

Aya El-Batrawi contributed from Dubai, United Arab Emirates.