UPDATED - Hamas gave positive response to Gaza cease-fire proposal, says Palestinian official

UPDATED - Hamas gave positive response to Gaza cease-fire proposal, says Palestinian official

‘Hamas and Palestinian resistance factions are open to any initiative that meets the demands of the Palestinian people,’ says Ali Baraka

UPDATES WITH KAN REPORT

By Mohammed Yusuf

ISTANBUL (AA) - A Hamas official stated Thursday that its movement has responded positively to the latest Gaza cease-fire proposal and informed mediators that they are open to any proposal that meets the demands of the Palestinian people.

“Hamas and Palestinian resistance factions are open to any initiative that meets the demands of the Palestinian people,” Ali Baraka, head of the National Relations Department for Hamas abroad, told Anadolu.

According to Baraka, the demands of the Palestinian people include “a permanent cease-fire, the complete withdrawal of the Zionist occupation army from the Gaza Strip, the return of the displaced people to their homes, the provision of aid, and the commencement of reconstruction” in the besieged enclave.

“If the new initiative achieves a halt to the aggression against the Palestinian people and the withdrawal of the occupation army, we will respond positively to it,” said Hamas official.

Regarding the current state of negotiations, Baraka stated, “the ball is in Israel's court because the criminal Netanyahu refuses a permanent cease-fire and constantly asserts that he wants to continue his aggression against the Palestinian people.”

Israeli Channel 12 earlier reported that Netanyahu has agreed to send a negotiating team to engage in cease-fire talks with Hamas.

It, however, did not provide any details when and where the hostage swap and cease-fire talks will take place.

Israel's public broadcaster KAN reported on Thursday that Mossad Director David Barnea is likely to lead the Israeli delegation in negotiations with Hamas regarding a hostage-prisoner swap deal and a cease-fire in Gaza.

On Wednesday, Israel said it had received Hamas' response to the Gaza cease-fire proposal via Egyptian and Qatari mediators.

While neither party disclosed the content of Hamas' response, Israeli media reported on Thursday that the response could serve as a basis for resuming negotiations.

Egypt, Qatar, and the US have been trying for months to secure a truce and the release of the 120 remaining hostages in Gaza, but to no avail.

Hamas says any deal must end the war and bring a full Israeli withdrawal from Gaza. Israel, however, argues it will accept only temporary pauses in the fighting and wants to end the governance capabilities of the resistance group.

Flouting a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire, Israel has faced international condemnation amid its continued brutal offensive on Gaza since an Oct. 7, 2023 attack by the Palestinian group Hamas.

More than 38,000 Palestinians have since been killed, mostly women and children, and over 87,400 others injured, according to local health authorities.

Over eight months into the Israeli war, vast tracts of Gaza lie in ruins amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water, and medicine.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice, whose latest ruling ordered it to immediately halt its military operation in the southern city of Rafah, where over a million Palestinians had sought refuge from the war before it was invaded on May 6.


*Writing by Rania Abu Shamala and Mohammad Sio

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