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Hamas sets conditions for hostage exchange

Hamas sets conditions for hostage exchange

Jesus Carames

June 12, 2024 | 11:00 a.m.

Hamas demands complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza and ceasefire to advance hostage exchange deal

In the recent negotiations between Hamas and Israel, the conditions for a hostage exchange agreement have taken a crucial role. Hamas has made clear that it will not accept any agreement that does not include the complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Gaza Strip. This demand adds to the need to stop Israeli operations in the region, a central point for the Palestinian factions involved in the negotiations.

Hamas sets conditions for hostage exchange

In a statement carried by Al Jazeera, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad stated that they were willing to "deal positively to reach an agreement," stressing that their main objective is to stop Israel's military actions in Gaza. Izzat al-Rishq, a member of Hamas's political bureau, highlighted that Hamas's response to the proposed agreement "opens a broad path" to reaching an understanding. Egypt and Qatar also confirmed that they are evaluating the agreement and will continue to facilitate mediation between Israel and Hamas until a final pact is reached.

One of the most notable points of friction has been the proposal for a permanent ceasefire. Osama Hamdan, a senior Hamas official, told the Al Mayadeen channel, aligned with Hezbollah, that they had modified the ceasefire proposal to specify that it would not be permanent, in contravention of US President Joe Biden's proposal. This change reflects Hamas's uncompromising stance on the Israeli military presence in Gaza. Furthermore, Hamas considers the differences between Israel and the United States over the ceasefire proposal to be "only tactical," suggesting that there is a complex political dynamic at play.

International mediation and the role of the United States

The United States hoped that Hamas would accept the agreement without much resistance. Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated that the proposal was almost identical to the one Hamas had presented on May 6. However, the amendments made by Hamas indicate a fundamental disagreement on the terms of the cessation of hostilities and the military presence in Gaza. Egypt and Qatar have reaffirmed their commitment to working with the United States to reach a ceasefire agreement, showing the importance of international mediation in this conflict.

Hamas' conditions for the hostage exchange and ceasefire are clear: There will be no agreement without the complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza. This firm stance reflects the deep mistrust and complexities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, where every step toward peace is fraught with obstacles and delicate negotiations.

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