Hamas examining latest Gaza truce proposal in 'positive spirit': Haniya

Hamas chief Ismail Haniya has said the Palestinian resistance group was studying a proposal for a truce in the nearly seven-month war raging in Gaza with a "positive spirit". (Photo/Reuters)

Hamas chief Ismail Haniya has said the Palestinian resistance group was studying a proposal for a truce in the nearly seven-month war raging in Gaza with a "positive spirit".

In a call to Egypt's intelligence chief Abbas Kamel, Haniya said on Thursday he "appreciated the role played by Egypt", which along with Qatar and the United States is mediating the talks, and "stressed the positive spirit of the movement in studying the ceasefire proposal", according to a statement on Hamas's official website.

The mediators have proposed a truce deal that would halt fighting for 40 days and exchange dozens of hostages for many more Palestinian prisoners, according to Britain.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, while visiting Israel on Wednesday, urged the Hamas to accept the truce plan.

"Hamas needs to say yes and needs to get this done," Blinken said, insisting that "if Hamas actually purports to care about the Palestinian people and wants to see an immediate alleviation of their suffering, it should take this deal".

But the outcome of the talks has remained highly uncertain, with back and forth over the number of hostages that could be released, and profound differences remaining over the aim of any agreement.

Hamas's goal remains an "end to this war", senior Hamas official Suhail al-Hindi said — a goal at odds with the stated position of Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has vowed the army will keep fighting Hamas after a truce ends.

Cairo talks

Comments from other Hamas officials in recent days had suggested the movement's position on the truce proposal was "negative" for the time being.

But in his call on Thursday, Haniya confirmed that the movement's delegation would go back to Egypt "as soon as possible to complete the ongoing discussions".

The aim of those talks, Haniya said, would be "reaching an agreement that fulfils the demands of our people and stops the aggression".

Egyptian state-linked media Al-Qahera News reported on Thursday that "a delegation from Hamas will arrive in Cairo within the next two days to continue truce negotiations", citing a high-level Egyptian source.

Israel blames Hamas

Israeli government spokesperson Raquela Karamson meanwhile told journalists on Thursday that "the only thing preventing a deal is Hamas".

"Hamas only hardens its conditions and entrenches itself in unreasonable demands," she said.

Tel Aviv initiated a full-scale war on Gaza after Hamas attacked southern Israel on October 7, 2023, resulting in the deaths of 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli official figures.

Palestinian death toll in Israel's war against Gaza has surpassed 34,590 with mostly women and children while Tel Aviv is facing a genocide case in International Criminal Court over its atrocities in the enclave.

Israel estimates that 129 captives seized by Hamas during their attack remain in Gaza, but the military states that 34 of them are dead, while thousands of Palestinians have been imprisoned in Israeli jails.

"In seven months of Hamas captivity, we have never been informed as to their conditions," Karamson said.


Source: TRT