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Hamas proposal: It is difficult to reject

Hamas proposal: It is difficult to reject

Briefly

  • Hamas proposed a ceasefire and the exchange of Palestinian hostages and prisoners, which may be difficult for Israel to reject, according to Middle East affairs expert Dag Henrik Tostad.
  • The proposal includes the release of women, children, and sick Israeli hostages in exchange for 700 to 1,000 Palestinian prisoners.
  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the demands as unrealistic, but the Israeli Defense Cabinet will discuss the proposal.
  • Tostad believes that Netanyahu is unlikely to give in to international pressure to avoid entering Rafah.
  • – Hamas's demands are unrealistic.

    This was stated by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a statement on Thursday evening.

    This statement came as a result of Hamas submitting – after weeks of negotiations – a proposal that it calls a “comprehensive” vision for a ceasefire and the exchange of Palestinian hostages and prisoners.

    Although Netanyahu mentioned the proposal, the Israeli Defense Cabinet will discuss the proposal on Friday.

    Middle East affairs expert Dag Henrik Tostad believes that Israel's rejection of this proposal is much more difficult than previous proposals.

    He still does not believe that this will prevent Israel from entering the densely populated Rafah.

    Now the children of Gaza are dying of hunger


    Crucial

    Hamas proposes in its draft that in the first phase of the ceasefire, women, children and sick Israeli hostages should be released. This will be done in exchange for 700-1000 Palestinian prisoners.

    This was reported by Reuters, which claims to have seen the proposal.

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    Among the Palestinian prisoners are 100 serving life sentences in occupation prisons, and Israeli female soldiers have been released.

    No ceasefire: There was no ceasefire until Ramadan, as many had hoped.  The hope now is that Hamas' latest proposal will lead to an interim arms deal.  Here the first Friday prayer of the month of Ramadan is held on Friday in front of Al-Farouq Mosque, which was bombed in Rafah.  Photograph: Muhammad Abed/AFP/NTB

    No ceasefire: There was no ceasefire until Ramadan, as many had hoped. The hope now is that Hamas' latest proposal will lead to an interim arms deal. Here the first Friday prayer of the month of Ramadan is held on Friday in front of Al-Farouq Mosque, which was bombed in Rafah. Photograph: Muhammad Abed/AFP/NTB
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    They also say that they will not agree on a date for a permanent ceasefire until after the prisoner exchange process is completed, that is, in the second phase. The same applies to Hamas's demand that Israel withdraw its forces from Gaza.

    That's what Tostad believes could make a difference.

    Stripping and humiliation of health workers in Gaza

    Stripping and humiliation of health workers in Gaza


    – It is difficult for Israel to reject this project, because there is an urgent need for a ceasefire now. There is an urgent need for this. Hamas does not demand a permanent ceasefire in the first phase.

    There is great pressure from the families of the Israeli hostages to do everything in their power to return them to their homeland.

    Images and reports of starving residents simultaneously sparked several international initiatives to deliver emergency aid to Gaza. This pressure also means that Israel has announced that it will now “flood” Gaza with emergency aid.

    In line for food: Gazans suffer from food shortages.  According to the World Food Programme, the threat of famine is imminent.  Here, children stand in line for food in Rafah on March 5.  Mohamed Salem/Reuters/NTB

    In line for food: Gazans suffer from food shortages. According to the World Food Programme, the threat of famine is imminent. Here, children stand in line for food in Rafah on March 5. Mohamed Salem/Reuters/NTB
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    – It is unlikely

    – There is international pressure to prevent us from entering Rafah and completing the mission, Netanyahu said on Thursday.

    He stressed that Israel will not give in to these pressures.

    – We are entering Rafah. We will complete the elimination of Hamas and its brigades. Netanyahu said: We will restore security and ensure the victory of the Israeli people and the Israeli state.

    Rafah now houses about 1.5 million Palestinians, the vast majority of whom are internally displaced people living in temporary tents.

    This is the situation, as Israel will enter the last city in Gaza where there is room to stay for the desperate civilian population, which has drawn international criticism and strong warnings that there will be a “bloodbath.”

    Gaza health authorities reported on March 8 that five people died when emergency aid dropped by a plane struck them. Reporter: Marti Niloken Helseth / Dagbladet TV.
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    Tostad believes that Netanyahu is unlikely to turn his back on Rafah.

    – There is strong pressure from the Americans on the Israeli war government, but Netanyahu primarily wants to allow it to continue for as long as possible. Israel has taken everything in Gaza except Rafah, so I find it somewhat unlikely that they will agree to a permanent ceasefire until they take Rafah as well, Tostad tells Dagbladet.

    Growing dissatisfaction: - Strategic error

    Growing dissatisfaction: – Strategic error


    Netanyahu is also believed to have other incentives not to agree to a permanent ceasefire: increasingly tense tone with the United States.

    – If Netanyahu continues like this, the Americans will soon be so busy with their election campaign that Israel will once again be allowed to do whatever they want.

    Waiting: The world holds its breath as Israel and Hamas negotiate a new agreement.  Here local residents sit next to a bombed house in Rafah.  Photography: Ibrahim Abu Mustafa/Reuters/NTB

    Waiting: The world holds its breath as Israel and Hamas negotiate a new agreement. Here local residents sit next to a bombed house in Rafah. Photography: Ibrahim Abu Mustafa/Reuters/NTB
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    Prisoners are crucial

    Tostad believes that the number of prisoners that Hamas was able to release in the prisoner exchange deal will be the sticking point for the movement.

    – It is only a matter of time before Hamas loses the tunnels in Gaza, including Rafah. But at the same time, it is not the case that all Hamas fighters are sitting in the tunnels and waiting. There are still many who belong to the civilian population and are mixed with them, and it is difficult to identify them. This is the problem with Israel's goals, Tostad says.

    Whatever Hamas's defeat in Gaza may look like, the prisoners will determine their success.

    – If they release the military and political leader Marwan Barghouti, for example, Hamas will emerge victorious, Tostad says.