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Hamas says leaked Gaza truce proposal doesn't meet its demands

Palestinian group says remarks by Joe Biden suggesting a truce agreement was imminent were premature, as it reviews proposals for 40-day pause
Palestinians walk past buildings destroyed by Israeli bombardment in Beit Lahia, northern Gaza, on 26 February 2024 (AFP)
Palestinians walk past buildings destroyed by Israeli bombardment in Beit Lahia, northern Gaza, 26 February 2024 (AFP)

Hamas has said that leaked proposals for a halt in fighting in Gaza do not meet its demands, after US President Joe Biden suggested that a ceasefire may be agreed in the next few days. 

Speaking on NBC's Late Night with Seth Myers on Monday, Biden said: "Ramadan is coming up, and there’s been an agreement by the Israelis that they would not engage in activities during Ramadan, as well, in order to give us time to get all the hostages out.

"My national security adviser tells me that they’re close. They’re close. They’re not done yet. My hope is by next Monday we’ll have a ceasefire."

But Hamas officials suggested Biden's comments were premature, and that no such agreement had been reached. 

"The primary and main issues of the ceasefire and the withdrawal of Israeli forces are not clearly stated, which delays reaching an agreement," an unnamed official told Reuters. 

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The leaked proposal, reported by Al Jazeera and Reuters, includes a temporary pause in fighting, a partial prisoner swap, a gradual and restricted return of displaced Palestinians to northern Gaza, the entry of 500 aid trucks, and the repair of hospitals and bakeries destroyed by Israel.

Osama Hamdan, a senior Hamas official, said that the leaked draft was being promoted for "propaganda" purposes. 

"The Paris Summit draft is an American proposal and its goal is to give [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu more time to prepare for a new attack," Hamdan said. 

He also accused Israel of continuing to "evade its obligations". 

Hamdan said Hamas still insisted on permanently ending Israel's war on Gaza, lifting the Israeli siege and launching a reconstruction project in the besieged territory without Israeli restrictions.

Hamas is currently looking over a proposal discussed at a meeting in Paris last week between Israel, the United States and mediators from Egypt and Qatar

Israel's war on Gaza has killed at least 29,878 Palestinians in Gaza since 7 October, according to the Palestinian health ministry. More that 70,215 others have been wounded and 7,000 are missing, who are believed to be dead and buried under rubble. 

Over 70 percent of the victims are women and children, according to health officials.

Leaked proposal

According to Reuters, the first stage of the proposed truce would bring military operations to a complete halt for 40 days, and would include a prisoner exchange ratio of 10 Palestinian prisoners to one Israeli captive.

During the first stage, 40 Israeli captives listed under the humanitarian category are to be released, in exchange for approximately 400 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli facilities. 

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The first stage also includes the gradual return of all Palestinian civilians - excluding men of military service age - to the northern Gaza Strip, after they were forcibly displaced from the area last year. 

It also proposes that Israel will reposition its forces away from densely populated areas in the Gaza Strip. 

In addition, it stipulates a commitment for 500 trucks a day of aid to be brought into the enclave, as well as 200,000 tents and 60,000 caravans.

It also states that bakeries and hospitals be allowed to be rehabilitated, and equipment and fuel brought in to aid this process.

Israel would also agree to allow heavy machinery and equipment into Gaza for humanitarian purposes, including to remove rubble.

Further stages of the truce would then be subject to future negotiations, according to Reuters. 

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