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Hamas Agrees To US Proposal For Talks On Releasing Israeli Hostages

Hamas has agreed to a US proposal to initiate talks on releasing Israeli hostages, including soldiers and civilians, reported on Saturday. The Palestinian group has retracted its initial demand for Israel to commit to a permanent ceasefire before signing the agreement, allowing negotiations to aim for that outcome during the six-week first phase of talks. […]

Hamas Agrees To US Proposal For Talks On Releasing Israeli Hostages
Hamas Agrees To US Proposal For Talks On Releasing Israeli Hostages

Hamas has agreed to a US proposal to initiate talks on releasing Israeli hostages, including soldiers and civilians, reported on Saturday. The Palestinian group has retracted its initial demand for Israel to commit to a permanent ceasefire before signing the agreement, allowing negotiations to aim for that outcome during the six-week first phase of talks.

Reports indicate that if Israel embraces the proposal, it could pave the way for a framework agreement, potentially ending the nine-month conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. Central Intelligence Agency Director William Burns is set to travel to Qatar next week to facilitate the negotiations, according to Reuters. The discussions will focus on resolving Hamas’ demand that the United States, Israel, Qatar, and Egypt provide written guarantees for a temporary ceasefire, aid deliveries, and an Israeli troop withdrawal, contingent on the continuation of indirect talks for the plan’s second phase.

An Israeli source cited by Reuters mentioned a significant chance of reaching an agreement, marking a notable shift from past instances where Israel deemed Hamas’ conditions unacceptable. On Friday, the Israeli Prime Minister’s office confirmed that talks would continue next week, acknowledging that gaps between the parties still remain. A U.S. official, while declining to confirm Hamas’ decision, noted, “There’s real progress, but still a lot of work to do.”

The ongoing conflict has resulted in over 38,000 Palestinian casualties, according to Gaza health officials, since Hamas launched an attack on southern Israel on October 7, killing 1,200 people and capturing approximately 250 hostages. The new proposal ensures that mediators would guarantee a temporary ceasefire, aid delivery, and the withdrawal of Israeli troops as long as indirect talks persist.

Efforts to secure a ceasefire and the release of hostages in Gaza have intensified with active shuttle diplomacy involving Washington, Israel, and Qatar. The United States is striving to secure a deal before the presidential election in November.

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Gaza Cease-Fire TalksIsraeli hostage dealTDGThe Daily GuardianUnited States