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Hamas: Ball 'completely' in Israel's court as regime rejects Gaza truce proposal

Palestinians try to pull a young girl out of the rubble of a building that was destroyed by Israeli airstrikes in the Jabalia refugee camp, in the northern Gaza Strip on November 1, 2023. (Photo by AP)

Palestinian resistance movement Hamas says the Israeli regime has rejected a proposal for a ceasefire in Gaza, stressing that the "ball is completely" in Israel's court in the truce talks.

Hamas made the statement early Friday after its delegation attending ceasefire negotiations in Egypt departed for Qatar.

"The negotiating delegation [of Hamas] left Cairo heading to Doha. In practice, the occupation [Israel] rejected the proposal submitted by the mediators and raised objections to it on several central issues," the group said in a message to other Palestinian resistance factions, adding it stood by the proposal.

"Accordingly, the ball is now completely in the Israeli occupation's court," Hamas stressed.

"The next step will be subject to Palestinian study based on adherence to the last proposal and taking into account the Israeli occupation's last move by attacking Rafah and occupying the Rafah crossing," added the movement. 

Hamas said on Monday it has agreed to a ceasefire proposal put forward by Egyptian and Qatari mediators.

The group said the proposal includes the complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza, the return of displaced Palestinians to their homes, and a prisoner swap, with the aim of a “permanent ceasefire.”

But the office of Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the time that the proposal was "far from Israel's essential demands."

Israel has long been opposed to the idea of a permanent ceasefire, saying its genocidal war on Gaza is aimed at destroying Hamas.

According to state-linked Egyptian media outlet Al-Qahera News, representatives of both sides left Cairo on Thursday after two days of negotiations aimed at finalizing a ceasefire deal.

The outlet, cited a high-level Egyptian source, as saying efforts by mediators "continue to bring the points of view of the two parties closer together."

Israel launched the devastating war on Gaza on October 7 after the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas waged the surprise Operation Al-Aqsa Storm against the occupying entity in response to the Israeli regime's decades-long campaign of bloodletting and devastation against Palestinians.

The regime has also blocked water, food, and electricity to Gaza, plunging the coastal strip into a humanitarian crisis. Since the start of the offensive, the Israeli attacks have killed at least 34,904 Palestinians and injured 78,514 others, as an estimated 10,000 Palestinians are believed to be buried under the rubble of buildings flattened by the regime's bombs. 

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