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Hamas says receives Israeli response to new proposal for Gaza ceasefire

Palestinian children stand amid the debris of a house destroyed by overnight Israeli bombardment in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on April 27, 2024, as the Israel regime forces threaten to stage an attack to push the Palestinians gathered there into Egypt. (Photo by AFP)

Palestinian resistance movement Hamas says it has received the Israeli regime’s response to the Egyptian and Qatari proposal for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.

“Hamas has received today the official response of the Zionist occupation to the proposal presented to the Egyptian and the Qatari mediators,” Khalil al-Hayya, deputy chief of the Hamas political bureau in the Gaza Strip, said in a statement published by the group on Saturday.

The high-ranking Hamas official said the group will now study the document before submitting a reply.

However, he noted that Hamas remains adamant on its central demands which Israel has rejected so far.

Last month, Hayya said Hamas had put forward a “realistic” ceasefire proposal in the Gaza Strip that involved the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the besieged Palestinian territory, the release of Israeli captives, the return of displaced civilians and unhindered access to aid.

On Friday, Hayya criticized the Israeli regime’s response for not including a permanent ceasefire and the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza.

The senior official reiterated that the Palestinian resistance movement was “open to any ideas or proposals that take into account the needs and rights of our people.”

An Egyptian peace delegation visited the occupied territories to discuss a Gaza truce with Israeli officials.

The Egyptian delegation’s Friday visit followed Israeli media reports of a visit to Cairo on Thursday by the Israeli army chief, Lieutenant General Herzi Halevi, and Ronen Bar, the head of Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic intelligence service.

Egypt, concerned about a potential influx of Palestinian refugees from Gaza if the war continues with the planned Israeli invasion of the southern city of Rafah, has taken an increasingly active role in the negotiations.

An Israeli official said the regime has been trying to cut the Qataris as a main peace broker.

“Qatar is still involved but in a lesser capacity,” the official said. “It’s clear to everyone they failed to deliver, even when it came to expelling Hamas or even shutting down their bank accounts.”

Hamas officials still consider the Qataris a key peace mediator, alongside the Egyptians.

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