War in Gaza: what are the differences between the truce validated by Hamas and Israel’s demands?

War in Gaza: what are the differences between the truce validated by Hamas and Israel’s demands?
War in Gaza: what are the differences between the truce validated by Hamas and Israel’s demands?

Hopes were quickly dashed. On Monday, Hamas informed Egypt and Qatar, mediating countries with the United States, that it had “approved their proposal for a ceasefire agreement” in Gaza. Problem is, this text is very far from meeting the demands of Israel, which has therefore decided to continue the operation in Rafah. It must be said that it presents many differences with the one presented by the Jewish state last week, which the United States considered “extraordinarily generous”.

The hostage question

The text approved by Israel at the end of April already provided for three phases. The first, lasting 40 days, involved the release of 33 Israeli hostages (women, minors, elderly or vulnerable people) in exchange for the release of Palestinian prisoners with a ratio of one to 20. Israel had agreed to broaden the profile of releasable Palestinian prisoners, who should no longer be only women and adolescents but also convicted persons.

The new text introduces a big change, most certainly dictated by a principle of reality: Hamas does propose to gradually release 33 Israeli hostages during the first phase lasting 42 days, but specifies “alive or dead”. Which implies that among the women, minors, elderly or vulnerable people, all the hostages are no longer alive. Another change, the ratio would increase to one hostage for 30 Palestinian prisoners, and even one for 50 when the released hostage is a female soldier.

Regarding operations, the first phase provides for a “temporary” cessation of hostilities with a withdrawal of Israeli forces towards the east of the enclave, near the border. For its part, Israel proposed, after an initial release of hostages, to withdraw from the westernmost route and leave the center of Gaza after a three-week truce.

In the proposal accepted by Hamas on Monday, the start of reconstruction operations is mentioned in this phase, whereas they were only mentioned in phase three in the previous text.

The question of a permanent cessation of fighting

One of the other major changes, and one from which Israel has never wanted to back down, is the durability of the ceasefire. The text approved by Hamas calls for the “permanent end of military operations and the complete withdrawal of the Israeli army from Gaza” in the second phase, which should lead to “a permanent ceasefire”. However, last week’s proposal only mentioned the start of “indirect” discussions on a “sustainable calm” at the end of the first three weeks of break, then the finalization of the agreement on “sustainable calm” in the second phase.

New discussions planned

The third phase, which already provided for a five-year reconstruction plan for the Gaza Strip, now also involves the end of the “siege” of the enclave by Israel.

All may not be completely lost. The Israeli war cabinet decided to send a delegation to Egypt, hoping to reach “an agreement on terms acceptable to Israel.”

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