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Sat. Mar 2nd, 2024

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has firmly rejected Hamas’s proposed ceasefire terms, asserting the possibility of achieving “total victory” in Gaza within a matter of months. Netanyahu’s stance follows Hamas’s presentation of demands in response to an Israel-backed ceasefire initiative.

He labeled negotiations with the group as unproductive, dismissing their terms as “bizarre” during a press conference on Wednesday, and emphasized the pursuit of a definitive resolution to the conflict.

Additionally, Netanyahu ordered Israeli forces to prepare for operations in Rafah, a southern Gaza city where numerous Palestinians have sought refuge amidst the ongoing hostilities, raising concerns over potential civilian casualties, as warned by the United Nations.

Responding to Netanyahu’s remarks, Senior Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri suggested that the Israeli Prime Minister’s stance indicates a commitment to perpetuating the conflict, describing it as a form of political grandstanding. Abu Zuhri affirmed Hamas’s readiness to address all potential outcomes as discussions continue. Meanwhile, an Egyptian official source disclosed plans for a forthcoming round of negotiations, facilitated by Egypt and Qatar, aimed at fostering a conducive environment for dialogue and flexibility among all involved parties.

Hamas’s counter-offer to the ceasefire proposal outlined a phased plan spanning 135 days, involving exchanges of hostages, prisoner releases, and the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza. The proposed agreement also included provisions for humanitarian aid delivery and reconstruction efforts within Gaza. This proposal emerged against the backdrop of escalating tensions, with Hamas reporting significant casualties resulting from Israeli military actions and retaliatory measures.

The toll of the conflict remains stark, with Hamas asserting that over 27,700 Palestinians have been killed and at least 65,000 injured since its inception, with casualties notably escalating during a series of attacks launched by the group last October. The intricacies of the negotiation process, coupled with the enduring human cost of the conflict, underscore the urgency for all parties to seek a viable and sustainable resolution.

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