HAMAS has outlined the group’s counterproposal to a draft truce deal worked on by Qatar, Egypt, Israel, and the US.
‘The proposal was received by Hamas following the Paris conference and Hamas’s response was more specific and provided deadlines. These timelines were specified by Hamas itself,’ Muhhamad Nazzal, a senior member of Hamas’s political bureau, told Al Jazeera yesterday.
‘Among these details, none can be compromised. The Israeli killing machine must be brought to a halt. We wish to see Israeli occupation forces’ withdrawal from the Gaza Strip entirely. Our response is realistic and our demands are reasonable.’
He said Hamas fears Israeli officials are ‘not seriously committed to this deal’, and that is why it put the permanent ceasefire in the second stage of the agreement – just to see if they are.
He continued: ‘During the first phase, Hamas would release Israeli captives, including women, children, the elderly and the sick in exchange for 1,500 prisoners.
‘They would include 500 Palestinians who received long sentences, including life sentences, as well as all women, children and elderly people held in Israeli prisons.
‘At least 500 trucks of aid and fuel would be brought daily into all areas of the Gaza Strip.
‘Hamas demands the return of displaced Palestinians to their places of residence, a guarantee of freedom of movement between the north and south of the Gaza Strip and the opening of border crossings.
‘Hamas also demands that at least 60,000 temporary homes and 200,000 tents be allowed to enter the strip during the first phase.
‘Additional approvals would be required for a plan to reconstruct destroyed homes, economic facilities and public facilities within three years.
‘Hamas also demands that settlers stop storming Al-Aqsa Mosque and the situation at Islam’s third holiest site return to how it was before 2002.
‘Five parties have been chosen to act as “guarantors” if a truce deal with the Israelis comes to fruition: Qatar, Egypt, Turkey, Russia and the United Nations.
‘We expect a negotiation to start. Once it starts, any obstacles can be ironed out along the way to reach a final agreement whereby we can dot the i’s and cross the t’s,’ Nazzal told Al Jazeera.
The envoy responded sharply when asked about President Joe Biden’s comment that his group’s counter-proposal was ‘a little over the top’.
‘We do not expect the American president to come up with a better statement.
‘He is totally biased and was part of the war waged on Gaza.
‘He provided the political and legal cover for the Israelis and has supported all of Netanyahu’s moves. They worked hand in hand, providing military and financial assistance.’
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