Egypt receives ‘positive signals’ from Hamas on Gaza ceasefire proposal

Egypt receives ‘positive signals’ from Hamas on Gaza ceasefire proposal
A high-ranking Egyptian source said Hamas will present its response to the Israeli proposal in the coming days, with mediators say their response is positive.
4 min read
06 June, 2024
Hamas are expected to respond to a ceasefire proposal reportedly put forward by Israel [Getty]

Egypt has reportedly received ‘positive signals’ from Hamas indicating its willingness to reach a ceasefire deal with Israel in the Gaza war.

The Arabic news website Arabi21 quoted a high-ranking Egyptian source as saying that the group will present its response to an Israeli proposal announced by US President Joe Biden within the next few days.

Qatar’s prime minister and Egypt’s director of intelligence met in Doha on Wednesday with senior Hamas officials to discuss Israel’s truce proposal, according to two sources cited by Axios

The meeting came a week after Hamas received the Israeli proposal and US President Joe Biden announced it.

Even though the proposal is Israeli, there are continuing doubts as to whether the Israeli government will approve it, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's extremist allies Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich threatening to quit the government if it is approved.

Both Qatar and Egypt, two key mediators, said Hamas’s response to Biden’s speech was positive, but are yet to give an official response to the proposal.

Ismail Haniyeh, the head of Hamas’ political bureau, also said on Wednesday that the movement would deal "seriously and positively" with any agreement on the basis that a permanent ceasefire is achieved in Gaza, along with the exchange of captives and detainees.

Israel said it had not received an official response from Hamas to its proposal and prisoner exchange on Thursday.

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Biden said that the three-stage proposal includes a prisoner exchange in the first stage, followed by sustaining a ceasefire and then the reconstruction of Gaza as the final stage.

Netanyahu called Biden’s presentation of the proposal "inaccurate".

"I did not agree to end the war in the second phase of the proposal, but only to discuss that step according to Tel Aviv’s terms," he said.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told NBC on Wednesday that the Israeli hostage deal proposal is still "a live proposal", adding "The Israeli government has reconfirmed as recently as today that the proposal is still on the table and it is up to Hamas to accept it".

Hamas officials and representatives from other factions, including Islamic Jihad are also expected to arrive in Cairo later this week for talks.

Truce deal causes divide

Israel’s extreme-right national security minister Itamar Ben Gvir’s Otzma Yehudit party said on Wednesday that it would reserve the right to not vote with the coalition in the Knesset until Netanyahu reveals details on the ceasefire proposal

The party issued a statement accusing the prime minister of hiding details of the draft agreement.

"In light of the fact the prime minister is hiding the draft agreement with Hamas that includes a clause to end the war, Otzma Yehudit will vote according to the dictates of its conscience and will not be committed to the coalition’s position in Knesset votes until the prime minister stops hiding the draft agreement," the statement read.

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Another extremist member of the Israeli government, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich who heads the Religious Zionism party, also accused Netanyahu of withholding details of the deal, adding he had not seen the full text.

According to The Times of Israel, Ben-Gvir and other far-right lawmakers have reiterated they would not agree to a deal with Hamas that agrees to end the war in exchange for the release of captives.

Ben-Gvir has even threatened to bring down the government if such a deal is reached.

"If you sign a reckless deal that will bring an end to the war without the collapse of Hamas, Otzma Yehudit will dissolve the government," he said, despite assurances from Netanyahu that the deal presented by Biden was incomplete and had "gaps" in it.

Egyptian delegation discusses role of PA

Meanwhile, discussions are underway between Egyptian officials and Hamas representatives as well as other Palestinian figures, regarding the next steps after the war is over in Gaza, The New Arab’s sister publication, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported.

An Egyptian delegation visited the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah to meet with officials from the Palestinian Authority (PA) to discuss its possible role in Gaza in the future.

"The US administration has finally settled on the need to discuss the day after the war alongside ceasefire negotiations," an American diplomat in Cairo told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.

The diplomat explained this was the chief reason behind sending CIA director William Burns and Brett McGurk, a senior advisor to Biden, to the region.

"The Biden administration has a vision which suggests Hamas is not at the forefront of the scene in the day after [the war]" the diplomat said, adding several different scenarios are currently being studied, which slightly differ in detail but all centre on the point that Hamas is not leading things in Gaza.