Hamas proposes three-stage ceasefire over 135 days, leading to end of war

Yahya Sinwar, head of Hamas in Gaza, greets his supporters during a meeting with leaders of Palestinian factions at his office in Gaza City, April 13, 2022. (AP Photo/ Adel Hana/ File)
Yahya Sinwar, head of Hamas in Gaza, greets his supporters during a meeting with leaders of Palestinian factions at his office in Gaza City, April 13, 2022. (AP Photo/ Adel Hana/ File)

Hamas has proposed a ceasefire plan that would quiet the guns in Gaza for four and a half months, leading to an end to the war, in response to a proposal sent last week by Qatari and Egyptian mediators that was backed by the United States and Israel.

According to a draft document seen by Reuters, the Hamas counterproposal envisions three phases, each lasting 45 days.

The proposal would see the terror group exchange the remaining Israeli hostages abducted on Oct. 7 for Palestinian prisoners. The reconstruction of Gaza would begin, Israeli forces would withdraw completely, and bodies and remains would be exchanged.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived overnight in Israel after meeting the leaders of mediators Qatar and Egypt in the most serious diplomatic push of the war so far aimed at reaching an extended truce.

According to the Hamas counterproposal, all Israeli women hostages, males under 19, the elderly and sick would be released during the first 45-day phase in exchange for the release of Palestinian women and children from Israeli jails.

Remaining male hostages would be released during the second phase, and remains exchanged in the third phase. By the end of the third phase, Hamas would expect the sides to have reached agreement on an end to the war.

The group, which governs Gaza, says in an addendum to the proposal that it seeks the release of 1,500 prisoners, a third of whom it wants to select from a list of Palestinians handed life sentences by Israel.

The truce would also increase the flow of food and other aid to Gaza’s civilians, with the group demanding 500 trucks a day.

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