Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu. Photo: @Netanyahu/X
Hamas had proposed a 135-day agreement which would have seen the release of all hostages in exchange for the freedom of Palestinian prisoners and “complete and sustainable calm.” The proposal was a response to the “Framework Agreement” mediated by Egypt, Qatar, and the US in Paris last week.
Israel has rejected a proposal presented by Hamas for a ceasefire and hostage exchange in Gaza. Following a meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared in a press conference on February 7 that Israel was “on the way to complete victory,” that “there is no other solution” and that the war would be won in “a matter of months.”
As reported by the Washington Post, Netanyahu “ruled out any arrangement that leaves Hamas in full or partial control of Gaza” and said that Israel is the “only power” capable of ensuring security. Netanyahu stated in the press conference that he had told Blinken that Israel would ensure that “Gaza is demilitarized forever.”
“The ‘day after’ is the day after Hamas. All of Hamas,” Netanyahu said. He added, “There is no alternative for the military collapse [of Hamas]. There will not be a civilian collapse of [Hamas rule] without a military one,” according to Times of Israel.
Not only has the Israeli government repeatedly rejected Hamas’ proposals that could enable a release of the hostage through an exchange, it has also continued to rebuff pressure from the families of the hostages. Netanyhu reiterated on Wednesday that “continued military pressure is an essential condition for the freeing of the hostages,” saying nothing of the fact that Israel has killed its own citizens while continuing to attack and bomb Gaza in their name.
Earlier on Tuesday, Hamas had presented its response to the “Framework Agreement” mediated by Egypt, Qatar, and the US for a possible cessation of the genocidal war on Gaza.
Security officials from the three countries, along with Israeli intelligence officials, had met in Paris last week, following which Egyptian and Qatari mediators delivered a proposal to the Palestinian resistance.
However, the deal was widely unpopular among Palestinians given that it had failed to deliver on the basic demand for a permanent ceasefire, opting instead for a “humanitarian pause” broken into three stages. The term itself lacks a set legal definition, and is defined by the UN as a “temporary cessation of hostilities purely for humanitarian purposes.”
The details of Hamas’ counter proposal, which were published by Lebanese newspaper Al Akhbar on Wednesday, comprised the following: a stop to mutual military operations between the parties, complete and sustainable calm, an exchange of prisoners between the two parties, an end to the siege on Gaza, reconstruction, the return of displaced people to their homes, and provision of shelter and relief requirements for all residents in all areas of the Gaza Strip.
The proposed ceasefire would have been implemented in three stages over 135 days. The first 45-day stage would have seen the release of Israeli detainees, specifically women, children, the elderly and sick, except for those conscripted in the Israeli army, in exchange for a specific number of Palestinian prisoners.
There would be a cessation of military operations and aerial reconnaissance, a repositioning of Israeli forces outside of populated areas throughout Gaza, an “intensification” of humanitarian aid and the initiation of reconstruction work, especially hospitals in all sectors, and the return of displaced people to their homes. There would also be an initiation of indirect discussions towards restoring complete calm.
These talks were to be concluded in the second phase, which would also include the release of all male Israeli detainees, both civilians and conscripts, in exchange for a specific number of Palestinian prisoners. This phase would further expand on the reconstruction work, the continuation of the humanitarian measures, and the withdrawal of Israeli forces outside the borders of all areas of the Gaza Strip.
In the third and final stage, there was to be an exchange of the bodies and remains of the dead by both Israel and Hamas, and a continuation of the humanitarian measures established in the preceding stages.