Report: Hamas Drops One of Its Major Demands in US-Brokered, 3-Phase Ceasefire Deal With Israel

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It’s hard to know what to make of the latest incarnation of Hamas’ negotiations Hokey Pokey. They certainly have not shown themselves to be trustworthy, being terrorists and the perpetrators of the horrific Oct. 7 attack on Israel. 

via the AP: 

DEIR AL-BALAH, Gaza (AP) — Hamas has given its initial approval of a U.S.-backed proposal for a phased cease-fire deal in Gaza, dropping a key demand that Israel commit up front to a complete end to the war, a Hamas official and an Egyptian official said Saturday.

The apparent compromise by the militant group, which controlled Gaza before triggering the war with an Oct. 7 attack on Israel, could deliver the first pause in fighting since November and set the stage for further talks on ending a devastating nine months of fighting. But all sides cautioned that a deal is still not guaranteed.

Here’s what would be in the three-phase deal–at least, according to officials speaking anonymously on behalf of Hamas and Egypt:

The two officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss ongoing negotiations, said Washington’s phased deal would start with a “full and complete” six-week cease-fire during which older, sick and female hostages would be released in exchange for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners. During those 42 days, Israeli forces would withdraw from densely populated areas of Gaza and allow the return of displaced people to their homes in northern Gaza, the officials said.

A senior Hamas official, also speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss negotiations, later told The Associated Press that female soldiers would be among those released in the first phase.

A second phase would, in theory, be worked out among Israel, Hamas, and negotiators at this point. One term that was teased, something that Israel is likely eagar to see happen in reality, is the release of male hostages. But tied to that, unsurprisingly, is the release of even more Hamas terrorists. 

Once the sides get over that hump, the third phase would begin: 

The third phase would include the return of any remaining hostages, including bodies of the dead, and the start of a yearslong reconstruction project.

While there has so far been no comment from either Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government or the White House, the AP had this in its report (linked above):

On Friday, the Israeli prime minister confirmed that the Mossad spy agency’s chief had paid a lightning visit to Qatar, a key mediator, but his office said “gaps between the parties” remained.

We’ll keep you posted when new developments arise, likely later next week as we near the start of the NATO summit.

Related: Does Joe Biden Have America’s Allies Spooked Ahead of the NATO Summit?

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