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Israel, Hamas, Palestine, Gaza Strip, negotiations, ceasefire, truce, Islamic Resistance Movement, prisoners, hostages

Cautious optimism regarding negotiations between Hamas and Israel

Ramallah, April 29.- After months of stagnation, negotiations to reach a ceasefire and exchange prisoners between the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) and Israel are advancing today with cautious optimism, amid the continuation of the attacks against Gaza.

Palestinian and Israeli media announced in recent hours progress on critical issues and highlighted that delegations will arrive in Cairo this Monday to continue contacts.

The presence of both parties in that capital will serve to “speed up the process and provide the necessary clarifications,” an Egyptian source told the Qatari newspaper Al Arabi Al Jadid.

In the coming hours, Hamas is expected to respond to the latest proposal presented by Israel and Egypt regarding a ceasefire agreement in Gaza.

“We promised our brothers in Egypt and Qatar that we are serious about reaching an agreement, but we will not surrender to any American pressure,” warned Sami Abu Zuhri, a senior official of that Islamist group.

The atmosphere is positive unless there are new Israeli obstacles, since there are no major problems in the observations and queries presented by us, said another source from the organization, quoted by the Al Quds news portal.

Hamas's response could determine the fate of Benjamin Netanyahu's government if it is positive, given the opposition of extremists in the Cabinet to the agreement, the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper reported.

Several ministers, led by Itamar Ben Gvir (National Security) and Belzalel Smotrich (Finance), flatly reject a pact and advocate intensifying the war campaign in the coastal enclave.

Under the outline of the new agreement, Israel would release dozens of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for each of its freed citizens.

Yedioth Ahronoth revealed that in this first phase the release of 33 Israelis (women, men over 50 and sick) of the more than 133 held by the Palestinian militias is on the agenda.

Hamas demands the release of 50 Palestinians for each captured soldier and 30 for each civilian.

According to the first clause of the Egyptian plan, Israel also agrees to stop all preparations to enter Rafah and allow the refugees to return to northern Gaza, in addition to abandoning the Netzarim corridor, created by the Army to cut the Stripe.

Israeli Channel 12 noted that Netanyahu, under growing internal and foreign pressure, could accept those conditions, which to date have paralyzed any agreement.

Reports indicate that a later phase would address the end of the war and the exchange of the remaining Israeli prisoners, although the prime minister is reluctant to commit to stopping the fighting and only advocates "a period of sustained calm."

But the Islamist movement has repeatedly warned that Israel will only receive all its captured citizens on October 7 when it commits to ending the conflict. (PL) (Photo: PL/Archive)

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