Aftermath of an Israeli strike on a house in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip Aftermath of an Israeli strike on a house in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip 

West pressures Hamas to accept Gaza ceasefire plan

As the death toll in the Gaza Strip tops 36,000, at least eight people, including children, were killed on Tuesday in an Israeli strike targeting a vehicle near a shelter housing displaced Palestinians in Deir el-Balah, in central Gaza.

By Linda Bordoni 

Mediator Qatar on Tuesday said it was waiting for a clear position from Israel on a proposed ceasefire and captive release deal.

It confirmed it delivered an Israeli proposal to Hamas that reflected the positions stated by U.S. President Joe Biden last week, adding that the paper was now much closer to the positions of both sides.

Biden on Friday laid out a three-phase ceasefire proposal from Israel to Palestinian Islamist group Hamas to end the war.

But although Hamas immediately said it had a positive view of the contents of the deal, a Senior Hamas official criticised Washington and the West's calls for it to accept the ceasefire proposal advanced by the U.S. President saying it was "as if it is Hamas who is hampering the deal".

The proposal

The offer calls for a ceasefire, the release of Israeli hostages and Palestinian prisoners, and the reconstruction of Gaza.

A Qatari foreign ministry spokesman said "The ceasefire deal should immediately end the long suffering of all people in Gaza and of the hostages and their families, and provide a roadmap for a permanent ceasefire and an end to the crisis".

He said mediators are still waiting to reach language agreed by both parties.

Months of negotiations

Qatar, with the US and Egypt, has been engaged in months of back-and-forth negotiations over details for a ceasefire and exchange of captives and prisoners by both sides.

But except for a seven-day break in the fighting beginning in November that led to the release of 105 hostages and 240 Palestinian prisoners, a series of in-person mediation efforts have not stopped the fighting.

(Source Reuters and other News Agencies)

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04 June 2024, 17:08