Hamas Leader Signals Openness to Ceasefire Deal Aligned with US Proposal

Ismail Haniyeh has said the militant group is ready to accept a deal consistent with the proposal pushed by US President Joe Biden

Hamas’s political leader, Ismail Haniyeh, has indicated that the Palestinian militant group is willing to enter into a ceasefire agreement with Israel, aligning with a compromise proposal put forward by the administration of US President Joe Biden.

During a televised address on Sunday, marking the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha, Haniyeh, who resides in Qatar, stated that Hamas seeks an agreement that would bring an end to the fighting in Gaza and facilitate an exchange of hostages for Palestinians held in Israeli prisons. This accord would necessitate the withdrawal of all Israeli forces from the Palestinian enclave.

“Hamas and the [Palestinian] groups are ready for a comprehensive deal which entails a ceasefire, withdrawal from the strip, the reconstruction of what was destroyed, and a comprehensive swap deal,” Haniyeh asserted. He added that Hamas displayed “great seriousness and flexibility” in striving to reach an agreement that would halt the bloodshed in Gaza.

Haniyeh emphasized that Hamas’s stance aligns with the ceasefire principles articulated by Biden, who unveiled his three-phase proposal late last month. He also noted the UN Security Council resolution calling for the implementation of this plan.

Israeli officials have alleged that Hamas demanded unacceptable revisions to the ceasefire offer. However, a senior Hamas leader informed Reuters that the group’s proposed changes were “not significant.”

West Jerusalem has also reportedly insisted on adjustments to the US-backed plan. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has asserted that any cessation of hostilities will be temporary, until Israel achieves “absolute victory,” encompassing the dismantling of Hamas as a governing authority and security threat. He claimed that in presenting the proposal, Biden omitted the fact that Israel had agreed to discuss ending the war only in the second phase – not to permanently cease fighting.

According to Gaza health authorities, over 37,000 Palestinians have perished since the war erupted last October. The conflict originated when Hamas launched surprise attacks against southern Israeli villages, resulting in the deaths of over 1,100 individuals and the taking of hundreds of hostages back to the Gaza Strip.