Hamas Presents Counterproposal for Ceasefire; Israel Obstructs Entry of Aid Into Gaza
Hamas has submitted a counterproposal to a Gaza truce plan, outlining specific deadlines and deeming its terms reasonable and realistic. The proposed truce spans four and a half months, with conditions that include the release of all hostages, Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, and the negotiation of a comprehensive agreement to end the war. This counterproposal is in response to an offer from Qatari and Egyptian mediators.
The move comes as concerns mount over the potential for an Israeli ground invasion of southern Rafah city, home to approximately 1.4 million displaced Palestinians.
Hamas insists on a complete end to the war as a precondition for releasing Israelis taken hostage on 7 October. Sources close to the negotiations highlight that the counterproposal does not necessitate an initial guarantee of a permanent ceasefire. Still, the end of the war must be agreed upon during the truce before hostages are freed. Hamas seeks assurances from Qatar, Egypt, and other states that the ceasefire will be upheld and not collapse upon the release of hostages.
Israel’s Channel 13 reports that specific demands put forth by Hamas are deemed unacceptable by Israel, though specifics remain undisclosed. Israel previously stated its reluctance to withdraw troops from Gaza until Hamas is eliminated. An Israeli official mentioned that authorities consider whether to reject Hamas’s proposals outright or suggest alternative conditions.
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken is in Israel to discuss the proposed truce deal and explore the possibilities of an Israel-Hamas prisoner swap following visits to Egypt and Qatar.
Since 7 October, Isreal has killed at least 27,708 Palestinians, mostly women and children, and wounded 67,147 others.
Aid missions in Rafah, Gaza, encounter increasing denials of access to areas north of Wadi Gaza. The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that out of 61 planned missions to the north, only ten were facilitated by Israeli authorities, two were partially facilitated, 34 were denied access, and six were postponed due to internal operational constraints.
An emerging pattern reveals that nine missions initially facilitated faced subsequent impediments due to unpassable routes or excessive delays imposed by the Israeli military at checkpoints. Missions supporting critical hospitals and facilities providing water, hygiene, and sanitation services were denied access.
Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) head Dr Younis al-Khatib and International Federation of Red Cross President Kate Forbes are in Gaza for the first time since 7 October. The delegation aims to assess the ongoing humanitarian challenges and discuss ways to improve emergency and relief services for Gaza’s citizens.
The delegation toured PRCS shelter camps, a field medical post in Mawasi Khan Younis, and PRCS Al-Quds Field Hospital in Rafah, gaining insights into the critical situation.
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