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Hamas official says Israel has retreated from Paris deal agreements 

February 20, 2024 at 11:46 am

Senior Hamas official Khalil al-Hayya speaks during a meeting held under the name of ‘National Developments’ in Gaza city, Gaza on 1 December 2020 [Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency]

Israel retreated last week from agreements within the framework of the Paris deal aimed at ending the war in Gaza and returning the Israeli hostages, a senior Hamas official has revealed. A report by Anadolu quoted political bureau member Khalil Al-Hayya as telling Al Jazeera TV that, “Netanyahu retreated last week, what he had agreed to in the Paris paper.”

Al-Hayya reiterated that the return of Israeli prisoners has three prices. “The first is the relief of our people and their return to a normal life. The second is ending the aggression. And the third is a real prisoner swap deal that frees the 10,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.”

He pointed out that Israel refuses to withdraw from Gaza and refuses to allow displaced Palestinians to return to their homes. On Saturday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described Hamas’s proposal on the ceasefire and prisoner swap as “delusional”.

For his part, the Hamas official pointed out that Israel has failed to achieve its stated goals of returning the hostages and eliminating the Palestinian resistance. He warned that the Israeli army will fail in Rafah, just as it failed to extend its control over the north and centre of the Gaza Strip. “Indeed, the entire world has failed its moral test in the face of the [Israeli] occupation crimes, and today it realises that without a fully sovereign Palestinian state, the region will not calm down.”

On 7 February, Hamas proposed a three-stage plan for a Gaza ceasefire that included a 135-day pause in the fighting in return for the release of Israeli hostages, according to a Palestinian source. The original framework agreement was worked out during a Paris meeting last month of senior officials from the US, Israel, Qatar and Egypt.

Israel believes that there are still 134 Israeli citizens being held in Gaza, after the Israeli army freed two last week who were being held in Rafah.

The apartheid state launched a deadly offensive on the Gaza Strip following a cross-border incursion led by Hamas on 7 October, during which 1,200 Israeli soldiers and civilians were killed, many of them by Israeli tanks and helicopters. The ensuing Israeli bombardment has killed more than 29,000 Palestinians and wounded almost 70,000. Around 60 per cent of Gaza’s civilian infrastructure has been destroyed, and there are acute shortages of basic necessities, including food, water, medicine and shelter.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice. An interim ruling in January ordered Tel Aviv to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza. This has largely been ignored by the occupation state.

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