Israel and Hamas at Odds Over One-Month Truce Terms

Israel and Hamas at Odds Over One-Month Truce Terms

JERUSALEM -In ongoing mediation efforts led by Qatar, Washington, and Egypt, Israel and Hamas have tentatively agreed in principle to an exchange involving Israeli hostages and Palestinian prisoners during a proposed month-long ceasefire. The negotiations, initiated on December 28, have focused on a phased approach to releasing hostages, starting with civilians and ending with soldiers, in exchange for a temporary halt in hostilities, the release of Palestinian prisoners, and increased aid to Gaza.

Despite progress narrowing down the initial ceasefire duration to around 30 days, Hamas is currently withholding approval, insisting on defining future conditions for a permanent ceasefire before proceeding with the hostage release plans. While Israel prefers a step-by-step negotiation process, Hamas is advocating for a comprehensive "package deal" that includes a permanent ceasefire agreement before releasing hostages in the initial phase.

The United States, Qatar, and Egypt are playing crucial roles in mediating the talks, with U.S. Middle East envoy Brett McGurk making a second visit to the region within a week. Washington expressed support for a more extended "humanitarian pause" in the conflict.

Egyptian security sources revealed efforts to persuade Hamas to accept a one-month truce, followed by a permanent ceasefire. However, Hamas seeks guarantees for the implementation of the second phase of the agreement before agreeing to the initial truce, without specifying the nature of these guarantees.

The negotiations involve various proposals, including an Israeli offer to end the conflict if Hamas removes six senior leaders from Gaza. Still, Hamas has categorically rejected this proposal. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, facing pressure to reach a deal, emphasized the pursuit of "total victory" over Hamas, but challenges persist in dismantling the group's leadership.

Israel experienced its highest daily death toll in the Gaza offensive on Monday, further intensifying the urgency for a resolution. While Israel insists on the dismantling of Hamas, Hamas is concerned about guarantees that Israel won't resume the conflict after releasing civilian hostages.

The talks, described as intensive, continue with the possibility of a deal being reached "at any minute." The negotiation process mirrors previous efforts, such as the week-long truce in November, facilitated by Qatar and Washington, which led to the release of hostages and Palestinian prisoners.

The comments posted here are not from Cnews Live. Kindly refrain from using derogatory, personal, or obscene words in your comments.