• 14 Jul, 2024

Hamas Softens Stance on Gaza Peace Deal, Reuters Reports

Hamas Softens Stance on Gaza Peace Deal, Reuters Reports

The success of the negotiations will depend on both parties' willingness to compromise and adhere to the proposed framework

In a significant development that could potentially lead to a breakthrough in the Gaza conflict, Hamas has reportedly relaxed its demands for a peace deal, according to a Reuters report citing a senior Hamas official. This shift in position comes as Israel prepares to send a delegation to Doha for US, Qatar, and Egypt-mediated talks next week.

The Palestinian armed group has reportedly accepted a US proposal to begin discussions on releasing male Israeli hostages and soldiers 16 days after the first phase of a de-escalation process begins. Crucially, Hamas has dropped its previous demand for Israel to commit to a permanent ceasefire before signing any deal.

The proposed agreement is structured in three phases. The first phase calls for Hamas to release elderly, sick, and female hostages in exchange for a six-week truce, the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza cities, and the release of Palestinian detainees held by Israel. The second phase would involve the release of all remaining hostages, including soldiers and men, as well as the bodies of those who have died. This phase would also entail a permanent end to the fighting and a full Israeli withdrawal from Gaza. The third phase would focus on the reconstruction of Gaza.

According to the Hamas official, the group expects to end hostilities through talks during the deal's first six-week phase. The American initiative reportedly ensures that international mediators would guarantee a temporary ceasefire, deliver aid, and prompt the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza, as long as indirect talks on implementing the second phase are ongoing.

This potential framework agreement could bring peace to Gaza after nine months of devastating conflict. Since October, at least 38,011 Palestinians have been killed and more than 87,445 wounded in Israeli attacks on Gaza, according to the enclave's health ministry. The conflict began after a Hamas incursion into Israel on October 7, which resulted in approximately 1,200 Israeli deaths and 250 hostages taken.

Israel's security cabinet has approved sending a delegation to Doha to restart negotiations. However, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has emphasized that "the war will end only after achieving all of its goals, and not one moment earlier." One of these goals, as previously stated by Netanyahu, is the complete elimination of Hamas.

The international community watches closely as these developments unfold, hoping for a resolution to the conflict that has caused immense suffering and loss of life. The potential for a phased peace agreement offers a glimmer of hope, but significant challenges remain.

The success of the negotiations will depend on both parties' willingness to compromise and adhere to the proposed framework. The involvement of international mediators, including the United States, Qatar, and Egypt, could play a crucial role in bridging the gaps between the two sides.

As the talks in Doha approach, the world awaits with cautious optimism. The potential for peace in Gaza hangs in the balance, with the lives of hostages, civilians, and the future of the region at stake. The coming weeks will be critical in determining whether this shift in Hamas's position can translate into a lasting resolution to one of the most intractable conflicts in the Middle East.

Syed Haider

Syed Haider