Israel has given Hamas a proposal through Qatari and Egyptian mediators that includes up to two months of a pause in the fighting as a part of the multi-phase deal an international news media agency said on January 22, 2024 citing an American news outlet. The deal would include the release of all remaining hostages in Gaza, the report added, citing two Israeli officials. However, neither Egypt nor Qatar has confirmed this development so far.
The proposal includes the release of specific groups of hostages in stages. Moreover, it includes a withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza main population centers as well as a gradual return of Palestinians to the north of Gaza, media reports said. The proposed plan from Israel reportedly outlined a phase approach. In the initial stage, the elderly over 60 years of age, children, women and critically ill hostages will be released.
Subsequent stages will involve the release of female soldiers and men under 60 who are not soldiers and finally, the bodies of hostages would be released. The proposal also said that Israel and Hamas would pre agree as to how many of the 6000 prisoners from the Israeli jails would be released. However, there will be a specific negotiation on names of the convicts.
Earlier, the Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu while speaking with families of the hostages about the Hamas deal said, “I tell you as clearly as I can because there are so many untrue claims that must be torturing you.”
Reports about the progress in peace talks came as the US President Joe Biden adviser Brett Mc Gurk travelled to Egypt on January 23, 2024 and is expected to arrive in Qatar. As per reports, the Israeli War cabinet has recently approved the parameters for a hostage deal with the Palestinian group Hamas. The proposals are said to be different from past aspects of deals rejected by Hamas. According to Israeli officials, more than 130 hostages are still being held in Gaza.
Protecting Innocent Civilians
Meanwhile, the US on January 22, 2024 called for Israel to protect innocent people in hospitals, medical staff and patients as Israeli forces stormed one hospital and put another one in siege as they advanced deep into Western Khan Younis in Gaza. Israeli forces moved for the first time into the Al-Mawasi district near the Mediterranean coast, west of Khan Younis, the main city in southern Gaza. There they stormed Al-Khair hospital and arrested medical staff; Gaza health ministry spokesman Ashraf Al Qidara told an international media agency.