Hamas says it’s waiting on response from Israel on Gaza cease-fire proposal

Hamas officials said Sunday that the group is waiting for a response from Israel to its most recent cease-fire proposal, Reuters reported.

Hamas said last week that it would accept a key part of a three-phase cease-fire deal held up by President Biden, rekindling negotiations with Israel over a cease-fire deal as progress had slowed in recent weeks.

Israeli officials described the most recent Hamas offer as “constructive,” Axios reported Wednesday. The group is reportedly willing to drop its demand that any cease-fire deal be permanent in nature, according to The Associated Press.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said Friday that “there are still gaps” between the sides, though negotiations continue.

The pending cease-fire deal would see a six-week pause in fighting, withdrawal of the Israeli military from Gaza, increase in humanitarian aid shipments and release of Israeli hostages. During that pause, the two sides would negotiate a second-phase, longer-term deal.

A third phase of the deal would focus on funding and support for Gaza’s reconstruction.

CIA Director William Burns will again travel to the Middle East this week to assist in negotiations, Reuters reported.

Circumstances in Gaza remain dire for civilians, with poor access to medical supplies, food and water.

More than 38,000 Palestinians in the territory have been killed by the Israeli military since October when Hamas militants killed about 1,200 Israelis in a surprise attack on civilians. Hamas said it still has about 120 Israeli hostages in its possession.

Border clashes between Israel and Hezbollah militants in Lebanon have also increased in recent weeks, raising fears that Israel could soon enter a two-front war. Hezbollah leaders have demanded that Israel come to a cease-fire agreement with Hamas, promising to halt their aggression if a deal is made.

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