Hamas Considers Israeli Truce Proposal for Gaza War Amid Ceasefire Talks

Israel and Hamas negotiate ceasefire deal involving prisoner exchange, as ICC considers arrest warrants for Israeli officials, raising concerns over potential diplomatic isolation.

Israel Ojoko
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Hamas Considers Israeli Truce Proposal for Gaza War Amid Ceasefire Talks

Hamas Considers Israeli Truce Proposal for Gaza War Amid Ceasefire Talks

Hamas is reviewing an Israeli proposal for a ceasefire in the Gaza war that includes a prisoner exchange, as the United States and Egypt discuss a truce amid concerns over potential arrest warrants from the International Criminal Court (ICC) for Israeli officials.

The proposal, described by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken as "extraordinarily generous," involves a 40-day ceasefire and the release of 33 hostages held by Hamas in Gaza. In return, Israel would release potentially thousands of Palestinian prisoners. The deal would prioritize the release of female, sick, and elderly hostages, followed by a 10-week ceasefire to allow further negotiations.

Israeli airstrikes in the southern Gaza town of Rafah have killed at least 22 people, including six women and five children. The U.S. has stepped up pressure for a ceasefire, with Blinken saying a new proposal has been put to Hamas, which is in talks with Egyptian mediators.

President Joe Biden has pledged to work with Egypt and Qatar to ensure the implementation of the proposed ceasefire, urging the leaders to push for the release of the remaining hostages held by Hamas.

Why this matters: The ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza has resulted in the deaths of over 34,000 people, mostly women and children, and a dire humanitarian crisis in the surrounded territory. A ceasefire and prisoner exchange deal could bring much-needed relief to the people of Gaza and lay the groundwork for further negotiations towards a lasting peace.

The talks come as the ICC is reportedly considering issuing arrest warrants against Hamas leaders and top Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his defense minister Yoav Gallant, and Army Chief Herzl Halevi.

If issued, the warrants would make it difficult for Western liberal democracies to engage with Israel, potentially leading to reduced weapons transfers, scaled-back diplomatic visits, and increased international isolation for Israel.

Blinken, who is visiting the Middle East, including stops in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Israel, has expressed hope that Hamas will accept the proposal. He reiterated U.S. opposition to Israel's planned invasion of Rafah, fearing a humanitarian catastrophe, and stressed the need for progress in delivering humanitarian aid to Gaza.

The conflict has fueled mass protests around the world, including on U.S. college campuses, with criticism of U.S. support for Israel. Blinken is expected to discuss the governance of Gaza and reconstruction efforts with Arab and European countries, as well as the prospect of normalized Israel-Saudi relations as an incentive for Israel to support a Palestinian state.

Mediators are hopeful that Israel and Hamas are nearing an agreement to halt fighting in Gaza and release dozens of Israeli hostages. Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry expressed hope that both sides would "rise to the occasion" and recognize the need to end the loss of life.

Key Takeaways

  • Israel proposes 40-day ceasefire, prisoner exchange with Hamas
  • U.S. and Egypt discuss truce amid concerns over ICC warrants
  • Conflict has killed over 34,000, mostly women and children
  • ICC may issue arrest warrants against Hamas, Israeli leaders
  • Mediators hopeful for agreement to halt fighting, release hostages