Hamas says US ceasefire proposal created a 'wide pathway' to reach deal in Gaza

Hamas said Wednesday its response to a U.S. ceasefire plan for the war in Gaza against Israel opened a “wide pathway” to reach an agreement, although neither the terrorist group nor Israel publicly committed to a deal.

The terrorist group submitted its formal response on Tuesday to a proposal U.S. President Joe Biden laid out on May 31. Israel said the response was equivalent to a rejection, and Hamas said it reiterated longstanding demands that the current plan did not include.

Egypt and Qatar said they received Hamas’ response but did not detail what was said.

This comes amid a months-long war between Hamas and Israel following the terrorist group’s Oct. 7 attack against the Jewish State, leading to military retaliation from Israeli forces.

HOSTAGE-FREEING ISRAELI RAID MAY HAVE ENTAILED WAR CRIMES ON BOTH SIDES, UN SAYS

Israeli military vehicles maneuver inside the Gaza Strip, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, as seen from Israel, June 10, 2024. (Reuters)

A member of Hamas’ political bureau, Izzat al-Rishq, said in a statement the group’s answer was “responsible, serious and positive” and “opens up a wide pathway” for a deal.

Another Hamas official told Reuters on Tuesday the response reiterated its position that a ceasefire must result in a permanent end to hostilities in Gaza, withdrawal of Israeli forces, reconstruction of the Palestinian enclave and release of Palestinian prisoners in Israel.

“We reiterated our previous stance,” the Hamas official said. “I believe there are no big gaps. The ball is now in the Israeli courtyard.”

Biden’s plan proposes a ceasefire and phased release of Israeli hostages in Gaza in exchange for Palestinians jailed in Israel, which would ultimately lead to a permanent end to the war between Hamas and Israel.

The U.S. has said Israel accepted its proposal, but Israel has not publicly confirmed it has accepted. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly said Israel would not end its attacks in Gaza until Hamas is eliminated.

An Israeli official said Tuesday that Hamas’ response had been received and that Hamas “changed all of the main and most meaningful parameters.” The Israeli official said Hamas “has rejected the proposal for a hostage release that was presented by President Biden.”

UN SECURITY COUNCIL PASSES US-BACKED GAZA CEASE-FIRE PROPOSAL

Family members and supporters demand the immediate release of the hostages kidnapped during the deadly October 7 attack, as they protest outside a meeting attended by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, amid the ongoing conflict in Gaza between Israel and Hamas, in Tel Aviv, Israel June 11, 2024. (Reuters)

A non-Israeli official briefed on the matter earlier said Hamas proposed a new timeline for a permanent ceasefire and withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza.

The U.N. Security Council voted Monday in favor of a U.S. resolution supporting the proposal from Biden. Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri told Reuters that the group accepted the resolution and was prepared to negotiate on the details of a ceasefire.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who was in Tel Aviv to meet with Israeli officials on Tuesday, said the response by Hamas was a “hopeful sign” but that it was not decisive.

Blinken told reporters that more important “is the word coming from Gaza and from the Hamas leadership in Gaza. That’s what counts, and that’s what we don’t have yet.”

Reuters contributed to this report.

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