Hamas says Israeli proposal fails to meet Palestinian demands, but is under review
Hamas says Israeli proposal fails to meet Palestinian demands, but is under review
Hamas says Israeli proposal fails to meet Palestinian demands, but is under review
by DZRH News11 April 2024
Rescuers and medics search for dead bodies inside the damaged Al Shifa Hospital after Israeli forces withdrew from the hospital and the area around it following a two-week operation, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Gaza City April 8, 2024. REUTERS/Dawoud Abu Alkas/ File Photo

By Nidal al-Mughrabi

CAIRO (Reuters) -Hamas said on Tuesday that an Israeli proposal on a ceasefire in their war in Gaza did not meet the demands of Palestinian militant factions, but it would study the offer further and deliver its response to mediators.

The proposal was handed to the Palestinian Islamist movement by Egyptian and Qatari mediators at talks in Cairo that aim to find a way out of the devastating war in the Gaza Strip, now in its seventh month.

Residents said Israeli forces kept up airstrikes on parts of central and southern Gaza on Tuesday, including one on a family house in Al-Nusseirat that killed 14 people, according to Hamas' Al Aqsa television. Other airstrikes were reported in Deir al-Balah in central Gaza and Rafah in the far south.


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly flagged plans for a ground assault on Rafah, where more than one million displaced civilians are holed up, despite international pleas for restraint.

The talks in Cairo, also attended by the director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency William Burns, have so far failed to reach a breakthrough towards pausing the war.

"The movement (Hamas) is interested in reaching an agreement that puts an end to the aggression on our people. Despite that, the Israeli position remains intransigent and it didn't meet any of the demands of our people and our resistance," Hamas said in a statement following the latest ceasefire proposal.

It said it would review the proposal further and go back to the mediators with its response.


Hamas wants any agreement to secure an end to the Israeli military offensive, a withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza, and to allow displaced people to return to their homes across the small, densely populated enclave.

Israel's immediate aim is to secure the release of hostages seized by Hamas in the Oct. 7 cross-border rampage that triggered the conflict. It says it will not end the war until it annihilates Hamas, which has run Gaza since 2007.

The United States is pushing hard for a ceasefire, after telling its ally Israel to do more to protect civilians in Gaza and let in more aid to prevent a famine.

In Washington, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris met family members of some of the Gaza hostages, who told reporters they were pleased to be told progress was being made but that they wanted to see action soon.


Jonathan Dekel-Chen, the father of American hostage Sagui Dekel-Chen, urged Hamas to come to the negotiating table to strike a hostage deal.

"We are waiting now and the world waits for Hamas to get to yes. It is in their court," Dekel-Chen said.

Another member of the group, Jonathan Polin, said he is holding out hope a deal can be reached.

"We have no choice but to stay hopeful," he said.


U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said 400 aid trucks had been cleared to enter Gaza the previous day, describing it as the most since the war started six months ago. He said a good ceasefire offer had been presented to Hamas, which should accept it.

Israel says aid is moving into Gaza more quickly after international pressure to increase access, but the amount is disputed and the United Nations says it is still much less than the bare minimum to meet humanitarian needs.


Israel pulled back most of its ground forces from southern Gaza this week after months of fighting, but still says it plans to launch an assault on Rafah, on Gaza's southern border with Egypt, where more than half of Gazans are now sheltering.


In one of the first signs of concrete preparations for a ground assault, Israeli media reported on Tuesday that the Israeli defence ministry was purchasing 40,000 tents ahead of an evacuation of the city.

The United States has warned Israel not to storm Rafah due to the high risk of civilian casualties and U.S. and Israeli officials will meet in person in a couple of weeks to discuss the matter, the White House said on Tuesday.

"I don’t anticipate any actions being taken before those talks, and for that matter I don’t see anything imminent ... It remains our conviction that major military operations in Rafah would be extremely dangerous for civilians who would be caught in harm’s way," Blinken told reporters in Washington.

Of the 253 hostages Hamas seized in its Oct. 7 raid, 133 remain captive. Negotiators have spoken of around 40 going free in the first stage of a deal.


Hamas fighters killed 1,200 people in southern Israel in the lightning Oct. 7 attack, according to Israeli tallies. At least 33,360 Palestinians have been confirmed killed in six months of war, Gaza's health ministry said in an update on Tuesday, with thousands more dead feared unrecovered in the rubble.

Most of the enclave's 2.3 million people are homeless and many at risk of famine.

Palestinian emergency teams supported by international organisations scoured the rubble of Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza City and the shattered city of Khan Younis in the south following the withdrawal of Israeli troops.

So far the teams have recovered 409 bodies of Palestinians killed in the hospital and its surrounding neighbourhood and in Khan Younis, according to Mahmoud Basal, spokesperson for the Hamas-run Gaza Civil Emergency Service. Israel said Al Shifa was used as a militant base, which Hamas denies.


(Reporting by Nidal Al Mughrabi; writing by Yomna Ehab, Nidal al-Mughrabi and Peter Graff; editing by Angus MacSwan, Ros Russell, Alex Richardson, Mark Heinrich and Deepa Babington)

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