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Hamas Rejects Proposed Hostage Deal Without Full Israeli Troop Withdrawal

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(CTN News) – In a significant development, Hamas has reportedly rejected a proposed framework for a hostage deal with Israel. The rejection follows Israel’s apparent agreement to the plan during negotiations in Paris, aimed at securing the release of hostages held by the Hamas group.

According to The Times of Israel, Hamas, in a joint statement with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, insisted that any agreement must include an end to the ongoing conflict and a complete withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza.

The groups emphasized that Israel must cease its “aggression” before considering any exchange deal.

A senior Hamas official expressed the group’s desire for a “complete and comprehensive ceasefire” in Gaza, a condition seemingly different from earlier demands for an immediate end to hostilities.

The proposed agreement, crafted during a meeting involving heads of the Mossad and Shin Bet intelligence agencies, along with US, Qatari, and Egyptian officials, outlines a phased process.

The deal involves the release of all Israeli hostages, starting with vulnerable groups, while “phased pauses” in Israel’s offensive against Hamas would occur during the hostage release process.

The reported offer centers around a 45-day pause in the fighting in exchange for the release of 35-40 hostages in the first stage. The deal includes releasing Palestinian prisoners in exchange for extending the truce.

The framework does not establish a permanent ceasefire but leaves the possibility open. Provisions for increased humanitarian aid into Gaza and the release of a substantial number of Palestinian prisoners are also included.

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Optimism in Qatar-Israel-Hamas Negotiations: Progress and Caution

Qatar’s Prime Minister, Mohamed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, expressed optimism about progress in negotiations, suggesting a potential shift in Hamas’s stance.

However, Israel remains cautious, with the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office neither confirming nor denying the existence of a deal, citing conditions “not acceptable to Israel.”

Israeli officials cautioned that there is still a long road ahead, despite positive developments in recent weeks. The situation remains fluid, with conflicting statements from both sides, and the war cabinet in Israel is scheduled to meet to discuss the ongoing negotiations.

The reported four-way meeting involving the US, Israel, Qatar, and Egypt was deemed “constructive,” but significant gaps still need addressing in subsequent meetings.

CIA Director Bill Burns discussed the emerging agreement with key officials, emphasizing that 132 hostages abducted by Hamas on October 7 are still held in Gaza.

Hamas demands an end to the war and IDF withdrawal as conditions for the release of hostages, terms Israel rejects. The war erupted on October 7 after a massive attack on Israel by Hamas-led terrorists from the Gaza Strip, resulting in casualties and abductions.

The situation remains tense as negotiations continue, with the hope of reaching a resolution and a potential permanent ceasefire in the future.

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