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Hamas Says ‘Yes’ to Egypt’s Gaza Ceasefire Proposal, Israel Says ‘No’

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On the 6th (local time), international news agencies, including Reuters, reported that the Palestinian armed faction Hamas has agreed to a ceasefire proposal put forth by Egypt in the Gaza Strip.

A scene from the southernmost city of Gaza Strip, Rafah, where black smoke and flames are seen due to an Israeli airstrike / Reuters Yonhap News

However, an Israeli official has drawn a line, stating that they cannot accept the ceasefire proposal that Hamas has agreed to.

Hamas posted a statement on its website stating that “Ismail Haniyeh, the supreme political leader, has informed the Prime Minister of Qatar and the Director of the Egyptian General Intelligence Service of the decision to accept the ceasefire proposal.”

A high-ranking Hamas official, who requested anonymity, said, “However, the ceasefire has not yet been established. The Israeli side has not yet stated its position,” adding, “Hamas has accepted the mediator’s ceasefire proposal, and now the ball is in the court of the Israeli occupying forces.”

Hamas official Taher Al-Nono explained that the ceasefire proposal they agreed to includes a ceasefire, reconstruction, return of refugees, and exchange of hostages and prisoners.

He added that a Hamas negotiation team is scheduled to go to Cairo, Egypt, on the 7th.

Khalil Al-Hayya, the deputy leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, revealed on Al Jazeera that the ceasefire would proceed in three stages of 42 days each. During the second stage of the ceasefire, it includes a complete withdrawal of the Israeli military from the Gaza Strip.

Al-Hayya added that during the first stage of the ceasefire, the release of Israeli civilians will take place. In the final third stage, a prisoner exchange between Israel and Palestine will be executed.

The announcement of Hamas’ acceptance of the ceasefire proposal came as the Israeli military issued a civilian noncombatant evacuation order in preparation for an attack on Rafah, the southernmost city of the Gaza Strip.

Immediately after the announcement from Hamas, people in Rafah, the southernmost part of the Gaza Strip, where an attack from the Israeli military had been feared, took to the streets, cheering and firing guns into the air.

Israel has not yet issued an official response to this.

However, an anonymous Israeli government source drew a line with Reuters, stating, “Hamas has accepted a softened Egyptian proposal that Israel cannot accept” and “The proposal contains extensive conclusions that Israel does not agree with.”

The official also criticized, “Hamas’ announcement today seems to be a strategy to make it look like Israel is refusing the ceasefire.”

Colonel Daniel Hagari, the head spokesperson for the Israeli military, emphasized, “We will seriously review all responses and counterproposals from Hamas, and we will carefully handle the possibility of negotiations and hostage returns,” and “At the same time, we will continue operations in the Gaza Strip.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has maintained a position that he cannot accept Hamas’ demands for a ceasefire and troop withdrawal.

The United States showed a cautious response, stating that it is reviewing Hamas’ response.

Matthew Miller, a U.S. Department of State spokesman, said, “We have received Hamas’ response to the latest ceasefire proposal and are reviewing it with other mediators, Egypt and Qatar.”

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