Hamas accepts UN-backed Gaza deal as Israel remains unclear

Netanyahu insisted there would be no permanent truce until Hamas’s military and governing capabilities were destroyed [Getty]

Hamas has accepted a UN Security Council ceasefire resolution and is ready to negotiate over the details, senior Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri told Reuters on Tuesday, adding that it was up to Washington to ensure that Israel abides by it.

Hamas accepts the UN Security Council resolution in regard to the ceasefire, withdrawal of Israeli troops and swap of hostages for detainees held by Israel, he said.

“The US administration is facing a real test to carry out its commitments in compelling the occupation to immediately end the war in an implementation of the UN Security Council resolution,” Abu Zuhri said, according to Reuters.

Meanwhile, Israel has vowed to press on in its Gaza offensive despite the resolution.

Israel’s representative to the UN, Reut Shapir Ben-Naftaly, emphasised at a UNSC meeting on Monday that her country wants to “ensure that Gaza doesn’t pose a threat to Israel in the future”.

The senior diplomat said the war would not end until all hostages were returned and Hamas’ capabilities were “dismantled”.

It came amid reports that Washington was considering a separate deal with Hamas for the release of captives who hold dual US citizenship.

US broadcaster NBC reported late on Monday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office did not express any opposition to the move, saying “Israel welcomes any attempt to set our hostages free”.

More resistance to a Gaza deal emerged from Israel on Monday, with Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich telling family members of captives that he won’t support the current deal.

“Let’s say that in exchange for every living hostage, Sinwar asked that we give him 20 residents of southern Israel so he could kill them,” Smotrich said, referring to Hamas’ leader in the Gaza Strip, Yahya Sinwar.

“Would that be an appropriate price? No. What [he’s] asking now is that we free hundreds of murderers with blood on their hands in order to free hostages.”

The far-right lawmaker added that “we will leave no stone unturned in the effort to bring back all the hostages, but we will not collectively commit suicide.”

Israel currently holds 9,300 Palestinians in detention, including 250 children and at least 3,410 in administrative detention, without charge or trial.

Since 7 October, Israel has increased its detentions of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, seizing over 8,640, the Addameer monitor in Ramallah, adding that some were released but that a notable increase was recorded from the previous 5,200 detainees held in Israeli prisons before the Gaza war.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insists there would be no permanent truce until Hamas’s military and governing capabilities were destroyed.

Opposition leader Yair Lapid has pledged to back the government if Netanyahu supports the deal, but the Israeli prime minister’s extremist allies Smotrich and Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir do not support it.

Last week, the White House said it had expected Israel would agree to the plan since it was “an Israeli proposal”.

“This was an Israeli proposal. We have every expectation that if Hamas agrees to the proposal – as was transmitted to them, an Israeli proposal – then Israel would say yes,” White House national security spokesperson John Kirby told ABC News on 2 June.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is in the Middle East to try to push for the implementation of the plan as Israel presses on with assaults in central and southern Gaza.

Talks on plans for Gaza after the war ends will continue on Tuesday afternoon and in the next couple of days, Blinken said in Jerusalem after talks with Israeli leaders. “It’s imperative that we have these plans.”

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