Egypt, Qatar get response from Hamas on Gaza cease-fire proposal

Egypt and Qatar received a response from the Palestinian groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad regarding a recent cease-fire and hostage swap proposal, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said late Tuesday.

A ministry statement said mediators will study the response and coordinate with the relevant parties on the next steps.

“Egypt and Qatar confirm that their joint mediation efforts with the US will continue until an agreement is reached,” it added.

On Monday, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution supporting a Gaza cease-fire proposal outlined by US President Joe Biden.

On May 31, Biden said that Israel presented a three-phase deal that would end hostilities in Gaza and secure the release of hostages held in the coastal enclave. The plan includes a cease-fire, a hostage-prisoner exchange and the reconstruction of Gaza.

In a joint statement, Hamas and Islamic Jihad said a joint delegation from the movements had delivered the Palestinian resistance factions’ response to Qatari officials during a meeting with Qatar's Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani.

The response was also sent to Egyptian authorities, the statement added.

According to the statement, “the response prioritizes the interests of the Palestinian people, emphasizing the need for a complete halt to the ongoing aggression against Gaza and the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the entire Gaza Strip.”

While Israel insists on a temporary cessation of hostilities, the factions demand an end to the war, the withdrawal of the Israeli army, the return of displaced persons to their homes, sufficient humanitarian aid and the reconstruction of Gaza as part of any prisoner exchange agreement.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “reaffirmed his commitment” to the proposal drawn up by President Biden during their meeting on Tuesday.

The Hamas and Islamic Jihad delegation expressed their readiness “to engage positively” to reach an agreement to end the war against Gaza.

Israel has faced international condemnation amid its continued brutal offensive on Gaza since an Oct. 7, 2023 attack by Hamas, despite a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire.

Nearly 37,200 Palestinians have since been killed in Gaza, most of them women and children, and more than 84,800 others injured, according to local health authorities.

Eight months into the Israeli war, vast tracts of Gaza lay in ruins amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water and medicine.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice, whose latest ruling ordered it to immediately halt its operation in the southern city of Rafah, where over a million Palestinians had sought refuge from the war before it was invaded on May 6.

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