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Hamas Announces Ceasefire Proposal in Gaza Conflict; Israel Demands Complete Disarmament

Tel Aviv- In a significant development aimed at halting the ongoing conflict in Gaza, Hamas has announced a ceasefire proposal, raising hopes for a possible cessation of hostilities. The ceasefire initiative, spanning 135 days and divided into three phases, comes amid escalating tensions between Hamas and Israel, which have led to the loss of thousands of lives.


According to Hamas's proposal, brokered through intermediaries such as Qatar, Egypt, and Israel, the ceasefire would include the release of all prisoners held in Gaza, including Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails. The proposal outlines a phased approach, with each phase lasting 45 days.


In the first phase, Hamas demands the release of women, children, and the elderly, along with the withdrawal of Israeli forces from specific areas in Gaza. Subsequently, the second phase entails the release of all remaining prisoners and a complete Israeli withdrawal from Gaza. The final phase involves the mutual exchange of deceased individuals' bodies.


However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reiterated Israel's stance, emphasizing that complete disarmament and the cessation of attacks from Gaza are non-negotiable conditions for any agreement with Hamas. Israel has not yet responded formally to Hamas's proposal.


The United States has intervened in the conflict, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken arriving in Israel to facilitate negotiations. The U.S. involvement underscores the international community's efforts to bring about a peaceful resolution to the crisis.


The Gaza conflict has exacted a heavy death toll, with approximately 27,500 Palestinians killed thus far. Amid the humanitarian crisis, the proposed ceasefire offers a glimmer of hope for the residents of Gaza, who have endured years of violence and devastation.


Moreover, the ceasefire proposal coincides with Saudi Arabia's call for a resolution to the conflict in Gaza. Saudi Arabia insists on recognizing an independent Palestine based on its 1967 borders, with or without a peace agreement with Israel. The kingdom's stance underscores the urgency of addressing the root causes of the conflict, in order to achieve  sustainable peace in the region.


As negotiations continue, the international community remains cautiously optimistic about the prospects for a ceasefire agreement. However, significant challenges lie ahead, including bridging the gap between Hamas's demands and Israel's conditions for lasting peace.


The proposed ceasefire represents a critical opportunity to de-escalate tensions and pave the way for much-needed humanitarian relief and reconstruction efforts in Gaza. Still, the road to peace remains fraught with obstacles. The complex situation demands sustained diplomatic efforts and goodwill on all sides to put an end to the cycle of violence in the region.


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