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update deskIsrael at War

Cairo proposes Israel end war against Hamas in return for hostages

Jerusalem has not agreed to the terms and the operation in Gaza will continue until victory, Channel 12 reported.

A IDF vehicle on Israel's border with the Gaza Strip, Dec. 21, 2023. Photo by Yossi Zamir/Flash90.
A IDF vehicle on Israel's border with the Gaza Strip, Dec. 21, 2023. Photo by Yossi Zamir/Flash90.

Egyptian negotiators have put forward a proposal for a “comprehensive” ceasefire between Israel and Hamas that would see all hostages held by the terrorist group in Gaza freed in exchange for far-reaching Israeli concessions.

The initiative seeks to end Israel’s operation against Hamas, release the remaining hostages in return for convicted terrorists, and incorporate Hamas into the Western-backed Palestinian Authority, Israel’s Channel 12 News reported on Sunday night, citing Saudi reports.

The broadcaster cited an Israeli source as confirming the details of the proposal. Channel 12 said Jerusalem has not agreed to the terms and the operation in Gaza would continue until Hamas is defeated.

However, other reports claimed Israel did not flat-out reject the initiative and that it might lead to further negotiations.

The first stage of the proposed truce would entail a two-week halt in hostilities, with a possibility to extend it to three or four weeks, in exchange for the release of 40 female, minor and elderly hostages. In exchange, Israel would release 120 Palestinian terrorists from jail.

The second stage would see an Egypt-sponsored “Palestinian national dialogue” aimed at ending the division between P.A. chief Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction and Hamas, eventually leading to the establishment of a new Palestinian governing body that would include the Islamist terrorist group.

The final phase of the plan would see an end to the war in return for the release of all remaining Israeli hostages, including IDF soldiers. Israel would commute the jail sentences of an unspecified number of terrorists, including those arrested in the wake of Hamas’s Oct. 7 assault.

In a statement published on Sunday evening, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to “continue to fight until absolute victory over Hamas.

“This is the only way to return our hostages, eliminate Hamas and ensure that Gaza will no longer be a threat to Israel. This will take time, but we are united—the soldiers, the people and the government. We are united and determined to fight until the end,” the premier said.

Local media noted that Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh returned to Qatar on Saturday following a four-day stay in Egypt to discuss the latest proposal. Meanwhile, a delegation of Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists arrived in Cairo for talks on Sunday, Reuters reported.

Hamas still holds 129 hostages, although not all of them are believed to be alive. One hundred ten have been released, most in an earlier deal that Hamas violated on Nov. 28.

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