Hamas accepts ceasefire with notes, Israel spins it as rejection

Hamas says it has proposed some amendments to the ceasefire deal presented by US President Joe Biden [Getty]

The US is “evaluating” Hamas’ amendments to a Gaza ceasefire proposal put forward by Israel with the group stressing its priority for a “complete stop” to the war following Israeli “spin” claiming that the Palestinian movement had rejected the truce offer.

Hamas says the ball is now in Israel’s court and the suggested amendments to the plan were “not big”, The New Arab’s Arabic language sister site , Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported.

A high-ranking Israeli official told Hebrew-language media Hamas’s response was a “rejection” of the proposal, while Hamas maintains that it simply offered “comments”.

“[The response] seems like a rejection. Hamas has changed all the essential matters in the proposal, President Biden spoke about accepting the proposal as it is, signing and implementing it,” Ynet quoted the official as saying, while other Israeli officials reportedly agreed.

On Tuesday evening, Jihad Taha, a spokesperson for Hamas told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that the amendments reiterated the necessity of a full ceasefire, withdrawal, reconstruction and a captive exchange deal.

“[Hamas] is ready to discuss any further details to the amendments with mediators,” he said.

Another member of the group’s political bureau, Izzat Al-Rishq, echoed the comments early on Wednesday in a press statement, saying Hamas’s response was characterised by seriousness and positivity.

“The response is consistent with the demands of our people and our resistance, and opens the path to reach an agreement,” he said.

“Israel’s incitement in the media against Hamas’s response is an indication of their attempts to evade the deal’s obligations.”

US national security council spokesperson John Kirby told reporters on Tuesday night Washington was “evaluating it right now”, without providing further details on the comments and amendments outlined by Hamas.

The ceasefire deal was approved by the UN on Monday after having been announced by President Joe Biden at the end of May.

The three-part deal was centred around an initial release of sick, elderly and female captives held in Gaza, in exchange for Palestinians held in Israel, over a six-week pause in bombardment.

This would then gradually move to a permanent end to hostilities and the release of all captives held in Gaza, with the final stage being major reconstruction in Gaza.

Hamas has repeatedly called for a permanent ceasefire deal and said Israel’s response to their comments was them “stalling and procrastinating” in an effort to continue bombing Gaza.

UN Security Council vote

The United Nations Security Council on Monday approved a US-drafted resolution supporting a ceasefire plan in Gaza.

The text – passed with 14 votes in favour and Russia abstaining – “welcomes” the truce and captive release proposal announced by Biden, and urged “parties to fully implement its terms without delay and without condition.”

The resolution called on Hamas to accept it, to which the group said they “welcome” the vote.

The “text is not perfect,” said Algeria’s UN Ambassador Amar Bendjama in response. “But it offers a glimmer of hope to the Palestinians, as the alternative is continued killing and suffering.”

After the vote, Israeli diplomat Reut Shapir Ben Naftaly emphasised that the “war will end” only when Israeli “goals are met”, including the release of hostages and the destruction of Hamas.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he considered “the adoption of this resolution a step in the right direction to end the war of genocide against our people in the Gaza Strip”.

Israel’s war on Gaza has killed over 37,000 Palestinians since October and wounded at least 83,000 others.

The indiscriminate military offensive has levelled entire neighbourhoods and plunged the enclave into a deep humanitarian crisis.

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