Hamas Calls For ‘Complete Halt’ in Gaza Amid Ceasefire Negotiations

Cries from the Rubble: Witnessing Gaza's Agony. Image: A Mother's Mission: Noor Harazeen

Hamas seeks ‘complete halt’ to war in Gaza proposal response

Amid diplomatic efforts to broker a ceasefire in Gaza, Hamas has submitted its response to a US-backed proposal, with the militant group insisting on an Israeli commitment to a permanent end to hostilities. In a statement, Hamas and its allies in Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) expressed “readiness to positively” engage in reaching a deal to halt the escalating violence that has ravaged the besieged enclave.

The proposed ceasefire plan, endorsed by the UN Security Council on Monday, calls for an initial six-week truce that would eventually transition into a permanent cessation of fighting. Qatar, Egypt, and the United States have been mediating talks between Hamas and Israel in hopes of facilitating an agreement.

On Tuesday evening, both Hamas and PIJ reiterated their call for a “complete halt” to Israel’s military campaign in Gaza, asserting that their response “prioritises the interests of our Palestinian people and emphasises the necessity of a complete stop to the ongoing aggression.”

White House National Security Spokesperson John Kirby acknowledged Hamas’s reply as “helpful,” adding that US officials were in the process of “evaluating” the group’s requests and stipulations.

Earlier, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had “reaffirmed his commitment” to the Gaza ceasefire proposal outlined by President Biden last month. The plan involves an initial six-week truce during which Hamas would release some hostages in exchange for Israel freeing an unspecified number of Palestinian prisoners. A second phase would see the remaining hostages released by Hamas and a total Israeli withdrawal from Gaza as part of a negotiated “permanent” ceasefire.

However, the full details of Israel’s actual proposal, reportedly more extensive than Biden’s summary, remain undisclosed, leaving ambiguity over potential deviations from the US president’s framework.

As diplomatic efforts intensify, the situation on the ground in Gaza grows increasingly dire. Palestinian health officials report over 37,000 dead amid the relentless Israeli bombardment, with countless more wounded and displaced in what human rights monitors have decried as a systematic campaign of ethnic cleansing and potential war crimes.

International outcry continues to mount over the wanton targeting of civilian areas, medical facilities, and other ostensibly protected sites by Israeli forces, radically undermining the professed narrative of limited “anti-terrorism” operations. With each passing day, Netanyahu’s stubborn rejection of any diplomatic resolution short of total Palestinian capitulation lays bare the extent of Israel’s malign ambitions extending far beyond the tactical neutralisation of Hamas.

The unprecedented civilian toll and the asymmetric nature of the onslaught have fuelled growing allegations that Israel’s true strategic objective is the permanent dispossession of the Palestinian people through indiscriminate violence – the realization of a longstanding “Greater Israel” stretching from the river to the sea, secured through the ethnic cleansing of Palestine’s very cultural and national identity.

As the horrors compound, pressure mounts on world leaders to forge a sustainable ceasefire ensuring the protection of Palestinian civilians. Yet with Netanyahu seemingly unshakable in his pursuit of “total victory” through overwhelming force, the prospects for a just resolution preserving Palestinian sovereignty and territorial integrity appear increasingly faint.

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