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Hamas proposes three-stage ceasefire over 135 days

1 min

Hamas has proposed a ceasefire plan that would quiet the guns in Gaza for four-and-a-half months leading to an end to the war, in response to a proposal sent last week by Qatari and Egyptian mediators and backed by the United States and Israel.

An Israeli mobile artillery unit fires towards Gaza, Reuters/Amir Cohen

Hamas has proposed a ceasefire plan that would quiet the guns in Gaza for four-and-a-half months leading to an end to the war, in response to a proposal sent last week by Qatari and Egyptian mediators and backed by the United States and Israel.

According to a draft document seen by Reuters, the Hamas counterproposal envisions three phases lasting 45 days each.

The proposal would see militants exchange remaining Israeli hostages they captured on Oct. 7 for Palestinian prisoners. The reconstruction of Gaza would begin, Israeli forces would withdraw completely, and bodies and remains would be exchanged.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived overnight in Israel after meeting the leaders of mediators Qatar and Egypt in the most serious diplomatic push of the war so far aimed at reaching an extended truce. Details of Hamas's counteroffer have not previously been reported.

According to the Hamas counterproposal, all Israeli women hostages, males under 19, the elderly and sick would be released during the first 45-day phase in exchange for the release of Palestinian women and children from Israeli jails.

Remaining male hostages would be released during the second phase, and remains exchanged in the third phase. By the end of the third phase, Hamas would expect the sides to have reached agreement on an end to the war.

The group, which governs Gaza, said in an addendum to the proposal that it wished for the release of 1500 prisoners, a third of whom it wanted to select from the a list of Palestinians handed life sentences by Israel.

The truce would also increase the flow of food and other aid to Gaza's desperate civilians who are facing hunger and dire shortages of basic supplies.

The Israeli authorities will never accept this plan, which leaves the military capabilities of terrorist organizations intact.

Reporting by Samia Nakhoul and Andrew Mills and Mena Today 

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