(PatriotWise.com) — Hamas on Tuesday rejected Israel’s proposal for a 2-month cease-fire to allow for the release of the remaining hostages in Gaza in exchange for Palestinians imprisoned in Israel, the Times of Israel reported.
According to a senior Egyptian official, Hamas also refused to leave Gaza. Instead, the terror group demanded that Israel fully withdraw its forces and permit Palestinians to return to their homes.
Israeli officials did not confirm that the proposal had been rejected. According to Israel’s Channel 12, unnamed officials said on Tuesday evening that Israel had not been informed that Hamas rejected the proposal.
Under the cease-fire proposal, first reported by Axios, top Hamas leaders, including Yahya Sinwar, would be permitted to leave Gaza and relocate to another country.
According to Axios, Israel submitted the proposal through Egyptian and Qatari mediators. Israelis offered to pause military operations for two months, during which a phased release of the 136 hostages remaining in Gaza would be undertaken.
Under the proposal, priority would be given to the hostages who are critically ill, along with the remaining children, women, and men over 60. Subsequent releases would prioritize female IDF soldiers and men who are civilians. The last phase would include male IDF soldiers and the bodies of those hostages who died during captivity.
Israel estimates that of the 136 hostages remaining in Gaza, 27 are believed to be dead.
Under the proposed deal, Israel and Hamas would arrange in advance the number of Palestinian prisoners who would be released during each phase.
The deal would have seen Israeli forces withdrawing from Gaza’s main population centers and the gradual return of Palestinian civilians to northern Gaza. However, the Israelis made it clear that the deal would not include ending the war entirely, nor would Israel release all of the 6,000 Palestinian prisoners. However, Israeli officials told Axios that they would be willing to release a significant number of prisoners.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has faced mounting pressure from the families of hostages to reach a deal that would release their loved ones. On Monday, Netanyahu assured the families that the proposal presented to mediators was initiated not by Hamas but by Israel.
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