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Israel ready to resume negotiations with Hamas on releasing hostages - Reuters

Israel ready to resume negotiations with Hamas on releasing hostages - Reuters Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu (photo: Getty Images)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel has informed US President Joe Biden of his intention to dispatch a delegation to restart stalled negotiations with the Hamas group regarding the release of hostages, according to Reuters.

A source within the Israeli negotiating team has reported a genuine opportunity to reach an agreement after militants made a revised proposal regarding the terms of the deal.

"The proposal put forward by Hamas includes a very significant breakthrough," the anonymous source noted.

Israel's response to the militants' proposal stands in stark contrast to previous instances during the nearly nine-month-long war in the Gaza Strip, during which Tel Aviv had consistently deemed the conditions set by the terrorists unacceptable.

An Israeli official announced that the head of the Mossad intelligence agency will lead the Israeli delegation in the negotiations.

The White House reported that President Biden and Prime Minister Netanyahu discussed Hamas's response to the possible terms of the agreement during a phone call.

"The president welcomed the prime minister’s decision to authorize his negotiators to engage with US, Qatari, and Egyptian mediators in an effort to close out the deal," the statement read.

In the phone call, Netanyahu reiterated that Israel would only end the war in the Gaza Strip once all its objectives were achieved.

A source within the Israeli negotiating team noted, "There’s a deal with a real chance of implementation." However, the source did not rule out the risk of the deal falling through due to political considerations.

On Wednesday, July 3, Israel received a response from Hamas to the peace plan announced by Biden at the end of May, which includes the release of approximately 120 hostages held in the Gaza Strip and a ceasefire in the Palestinian enclave.

A Palestinian official close to the mediation efforts told Reuters that Hamas had shown flexibility on certain points that could lead to a framework agreement if approved by Israel.

It is currently unknown where the Israeli delegation will go to resume the negotiations. Egypt and Qatar have mediated previous attempts to end the conflict in both countries.

Peace agreement between Israel and Hamas

The war in the Gaza Strip began on October 7, 2023, when Hamas militants stormed southern Israel, killing 1,200 people and taking around 250 hostages.

As of early June, the terrorists had released approximately 120 individuals in exchange for Israel's release of Palestinian prisoners.

At the end of May, Israel proposed a peace plan to end the war in the Gaza Strip, consisting of three stages. The first phase involves the gradual release of Israeli hostages still held in Gaza. The second phase includes the withdrawal of Israeli troops over the first two stages and the release of Palestinian prisoners. The third phase focuses on the reconstruction of war-torn areas and the return of the remains of deceased hostages.

On June 11, Hamas provided its response to the US-backed ceasefire proposal for the Gaza Strip through intermediaries. Some of the proposed changes were deemed impractical.

The militants state that any agreement must end the war and lead to the complete withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Gaza Strip. However, Israel asserts that it will agree only to temporary pauses in the fighting until Hamas is eliminated.