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Hamas says response to proposals represents commitment to stop aggression

June 13, 2024 at 10:34 am

Basem Naim (L), a Hamas leader who is a former Gaza health minister, speak during a press conference in Cape Town on 29 November 2023 [RODGER BOSCH/AFP via Getty Images]

A member of the Hamas Political Bureau said on Wednesday that the movement’s response to US President Joe Biden’s proposal regarding the Gaza Strip was not limited to simply saying yes or no. Several factors need to be considered, insisted Bassem Naim, including a ceasefire, the withdrawal of Israeli occupation forces from Gaza, reconstruction, the return of displaced persons and a prisoner exchange agreement.

“The answer, in general, includes an explanation of the movement’s position on each point separately, and what parts of it are acceptable,” said Naim. The primary goal is an end to the [Israeli] aggression and to the massacres of the Palestinian people, without giving up the basic resistance demands as noted.

He stressed that the ball is now in the Israeli occupation and the US administration’s court. “They must adhere to what has been said repeatedly regarding an agreement on a comprehensive ceasefire and the withdrawal of all Israeli occupation forces, the return of the displaced, and the start of the reconstruction process in the entire Strip.” They must not make any fundamental geographic or demographic changes in Gaza, added the Hamas official. “This is the essence of the recent Security Council resolution that the movement welcomed.”

The UN Security Council adopted a resolution on Sunday submitted by the US calling for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and stressing the importance of Qatari, Egyptian and American mediation efforts. The response from Hamas and Islamic Jihad was delivered to mediators in Qatar and Egypt on Tuesday.

In a joint press conference with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Doha, Qatar’s Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said, “We are committed with our partners to bridging the gap and trying to resolve the differences as the best way to end the war.”

Blinken added that some of Hamas’s counterproposals to President Biden’s proposal are “workable”, but some aren’t. “In the days ahead, we are going to continue to push on an urgent basis with our partners in Qatar and Egypt to try to close this deal.”

READ: Hamas seeking US guarantees in Gaza ceasefire deal, sources say