Hamas accepts US proposal on peace talks regarding Israel hostages

Hamas accepts US proposal on peace talks regarding Israel hostages

GAZA, JUL 6: A senior Hamas source told Reuters on Saturday that Hamas has accepted a US request to start negotiations on releasing Israeli hostages, including men and soldiers, 16 days after the first round of an agreement meant to put an end to the Gaza war.

According to a source who spoke to Reuters under the condition of anonymity because the discussions are private, the militant Islamist group has abandoned its demand that Israel first commit to an ongoing truce before signing the accord and would enable negotiations to accomplish that over the six-week first phase.

The idea, if accepted by Israel, could result in a framework deal and put an end to the nine-month-old conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, according to a Palestinian official close to the internationally mediated peace negotiations.

Speaking under anonymity, an Israeli negotiator source stated on Friday that there was now a genuine possibility of reaching a deal.

In the nine-month-old Gaza conflict, Israel had previously said that the conditions Hamas had placed were intolerable. This was a sharp contrast to previous incidents.

When contacted for comment on Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, an official for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not immediately reply. The negotiations will resume next week, his office stated on Friday, while highlighting the gaps that still exist between the parties.

Since Hamas launched an offensive on southern Israeli communities on October 7, more than 38,000 Palestinians have died in the battle, according to Gaza health officials. An estimated 250 Palestinians are being held captive.