Hamas Reiterates Call for Permanent Ceasefire and Israeli Withdrawal from Gaza for Hostage Deal

Israeli officials say Netanyahu is sabotaging the chances of a deal by rejecting the idea of a permanent ceasefire

The head of Hamas’s political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, reaffirmed on Wednesday the Palestinian group’s conditions of a permanent ceasefire and Israeli withdrawal from Gaza for any hostage deal with Israel.

“The movement and factions of the resistance will deal seriously and positively with any agreement that is based on a comprehensive ending of the aggression and the complete withdrawal and prisoners swap,” Haniyeh said.

The ceasefire proposal President Biden presented to the public involves a six-week truce and an initial hostage and prisoner exchange in the first phase. During that time, the two sides are supposed to negotiate a permanent ceasefire, and the Israeli withdrawal will begin in the second phase.

Israeli officials say the language is vague enough that Israel could agree to the deal without actually committing to a permanent ceasefire. But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continues to express his opposition to ending military operations in Gaza, which could sabotage the deal as it’s making Hamas more likely to ask for stronger guarantees.

Biden presented the potential ceasefire deal as an Israeli proposal, but Netanyahu said there were “gaps” in what Israel had agreed to and what Biden outlined. The US is still pushing for the deal, and CIA Director William Burns is expected to meet with Egyptian and Qatari officials about it this week.

Meanwhile, Israel continues to slaughter Palestinians across Gaza and has escalated operations in the central part of the Strip. Al Jazeera reported Wednesday that 75 Palestinians were killed in central Gaza over the previous 24 hours.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant reiterated on Wednesday that Israel would not halt its military operations to foster negotiations. “Any negotiations with Hamas would be conducted only under fire,” he said.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of Antiwar.com, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.