Hamas confirms informing the mediators of its adherence to the conditions for signing any exchange deal with Israel

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Hamas movement said on Monday that it informed the mediators of its adherence to its original position regarding reaching a comprehensive ceasefire, which includes the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza, the return of displaced Palestinians, and a genuine exchange of prisoners.

Hamas submitted a ceasefire proposal in Gaza to mediators and the United States in mid-March that includes the release of Israeli hostages in exchange for the release of Palestinian prisoners, 100 of whom are serving life sentences.

Hamas said in a statement on Monday, “Hamas informed the mediator brothers a short while ago that the movement is adhering to its position and vision that it presented on March 14; Because the occupation’s response didn’t respond to any of the basic demands of our people and our resistance: a comprehensive ceasefire, withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, the return of the displaced, and a real exchange of prisoners”.

On Monday, the United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas after the United States abstained from voting, sparking a dispute with its ally Israel.

The remaining 14 members of the Council supported the resolution proposed by the 10 elected members of the Council, which also demands the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages; Applause broke out in the council hall after the vote.

Egypt and Qatar are trying to reduce the differences between Israel and Hamas over what a ceasefire should look like in light of the worsening humanitarian crisis that exposes the residents of the Gaza Strip to the risk of famine.

Hamas said that the initial release of Israelis would include women, children, the elderly and the sick in exchange for the release of between 700 and 1,000 Palestinians detained in Israeli prisons, according to the proposal, and this includes the release of Israeli female soldiers”.

Hamas also said it wants the exchange of Palestinian prisoners and Israeli hostages to be part of a comprehensive ceasefire agreement that ends the war.

However, Netanyahu’s office responded to Hamas’ proposal, saying that it was still based on unrealistic demands, vowing to press ahead with its ground offensive until Hamas is eliminated.

During the past few days, Doha witnessed rounds of indirect negotiations between Israel and Hamas, mediated by Qatar, Egypt and the participation of the United States, to reach a ceasefire and a prisoner exchange deal, with an ongoing Israeli war on Gaza since October 7, 2023.

Israel holds at least 9,100 Palestinians in its prisons, according to official Palestinian sources, while the number of Israeli prisoners held in Gaza is shrouded in mystery due to Hamas’ refusal to reveal the number without a heavy price.

While the Israeli media talks about 240 to 253 Israeli prisoners, including 3 who were freed and 105 who were released by Hamas during an exchange deal last November, the Palestinian movement talks about the killing of 70 others as a result of the Israeli bombing.

The devastating Israeli war on the Gaza Strip, which has been ongoing since October 7, 2023, left tens of thousands of civilian victims, most of them children and women, and a famine that claimed the lives of children and the elderly, according to Palestinian and UN data, which led to Israel appearing, for the first time, before the International Court of Justice on charges of committing genocide.

For his part, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Galant considered that the results of the war launched by Israel on the Gaza Strip would affect Israel and the region for decades to come.

This came during his meeting in Washington with US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, according to a statement from Gallant’s media office.

According to the statement, Gallant and Sullivan met alone at the White House for about an hour and a half.

He added, “During the meeting, the steps required to continue eliminating Hamas movement, dismantling its military and authoritarian capabilities, and efforts to return the kidnapped persons were discussed”.

The statement said that Gallant “assured the National Security Advisor that the way the war in Gaza ends will affect the State of Israel and the entire region for decades to come, and will convey a clear message”.

Earlier Monday, Gallant said in a video clip broadcast from Washington, “We’ve no moral right to stop the war in Gaza until we return all the kidnapped people to their homes”.

Gallant’s speech came shortly after the UN Security Council adopted a resolution for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza during the holy month of Ramadan, without the United States using its veto power to thwart the resolution, as it had previously done 3 times.

On Monday, the new US position left a wave of anger in Israel, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu canceled sending his country’s delegation to Washington after the latter refrained from using its Veto against the draft ceasefire resolution in Gaza in the Security Council.

In a statement from his office, Netanyahu considered that “this is a clear retreat from the consistent US position in the Security Council since the beginning of the war”.

He said that this retreat “harms the war effort and efforts aimed at releasing the kidnapped people, because it gives Hamas hope that international pressure will allow it to obtain a ceasefire without releasing our kidnappers”.

For his part, National Security Council spokesman at the White House, John Kirby, said on Monday that Washington did not vote on a ceasefire resolution in Gaza because it “didn’t condemn Hamas”.

Commenting on Netanyahu’s decision to send a negotiating delegation to Washington, Kirby said, “It’s disappointing… We are very disappointed that they won’t come to Washington so that we can discuss alternatives to the incursion into Rafah”.

But he pointed out that regardless of the UN resolution, American officials are scheduled to hold separate talks with Gallant, who is currently in Washington, on issues including hostages, humanitarian aid, and the protection of civilians in the city of Rafah in southern Gaza.

Repeatedly, the United States has used its Veto to prevent the issuance of Security Council resolutions calling for a ceasefire, and it recently attempted to pass a resolution that didn’t include a direct call for a ceasefire, which Russia and China aborted with a Veto.

A delegation including Israeli Minister of Strategic Affairs Ron Dermer and National Security Advisor Tzachi Hanegbi was scheduled to leave for Washington in the coming days, according to Haaretz newspaper.

The visit was decided last week in a call between Netanyahu and US President Joe Biden, to discuss an alternative to the possible military operation to invade Rafah, which Washington announced its opposition to on more than one occasion.

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