Hamas makes revisions to Gaza truce deal, slams Blinken comments

Hamas has highlighted their amendments to the ceasefire proposal presented by US President Joe Biden in late May, emphasising that the ball is now in Israel and the US’s court.

The group emphasised that the amendments are “not significant” and are not a rejection of the proposal.

One of the amendments is the complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza, with the group stating they would not accept a deal that allowed any military presence in the Palestinian enclave.

Another amendment is the release of prisoners according to their seniority as well as to stop the detention of freed prisoners. The changes note that any freed Palestinians should be allowed to go back to their homes and villages, highlighting that Israel regularly prevents freed prisoners from returning to the occupied West Bank.

A further revision calls for the reconstruction of Gaza and for more aid to be allowed into the besieged enclave. It stipulates that convoys should be allowed in and that the end to aggression should be sustainable.

According to the Reuters news agency, citing two Egyptian security sources, the final note was  a demand for a written guarantee from the US regarding a permanent ceasefire and the withdrawal of all Israeli forces from Gaza.

The sources reportedly said that Hamas are concerned that the current proposal does not provide explicit guarantees about the transition from the first phase of the plan – notably a six-week truce and the release of some detainees – to the second phase, which includes a permanent ceasefire.

Hamas slams Blinken

Hamas also slammed US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s comments made at a joint press conference with Qatar’s Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani.

Blinken said Hamas had made many changes to the ceasefire proposal and stressed “some of them we can deal with, others cannot be accepted”.

During the meeting, he said Israel’s war on Gaza will now continue “as a result” of Hamas’ response.

He also added that some of the amendments proposed by Hamas were “not workable” and that efforts to reach an agreement are ongoing.

According to The New Arab’s Arabic-language sister publication, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, Hamas said Blinken was attempting to “exonerate Israel from disrupting the truce deal”.

“Blinken is trying to hold us responsible for obstructing reaching an agreement, as a continuation of his country’s policy of complicity in this genocide,” the group said in a statement.

The movement confirmed again that that it has not changed its position over the months, and that they have dealt “responsibly” with the truce deal. Israel, they say, has not expressed public approval of the proposal and is continuing its war on Gaza.

Earlier this week, Hamas submitted a joint response with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) group describing their response to the proposal as “positive”.

Israel has since framed Hamas’ notes to the proposal as a “rejection”.

A high-ranking Israeli official told Ynet: “[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.”

Meanwhile, Hamas reasserted they are ready to discuss further details regarding their outlined amendments and that Israel is “stalling and procrastinating” to continue bombing Gaza.

Israel’s war on Gaza has killed over 37,232 Palestinians since October and wounded at least 85,000 others.

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

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