Photo Credit: IDF Spokesperson
Hamas hostage cells in the terror tunnels under Khan Younis, Gaza. Jan. 20, 2024

A spokesperson for the Qatari Foreign Ministry announced Thursday evening that Israel has agreed to the proposal for a ceasefire, and “we have an initial positive confirmation from Hamas” as well.

But apparently the Fat Lady has not yet sung.


Quoting sources in “the Palestinian factions,” the ‘Resistance News Network’ published the following on Thursday night:

“We received a message from the leadership of Hamas sent to the brothers and comrades, the leaders of the Palestinian factions, about the framework paper presented based on the Paris meeting. The framework is under study and will be evaluated based on the agreed national parameters. The priorities will be:

1- A comprehensive cessation of aggression and a complete withdrawal of the occupation forces from Gaza.
2- Securing shelter for the displaced.
3- Reconstruction and lifting the siege.
4- Achieving a serious prisoner exchange process.

“So far, no delegation from the Hamas leadership has gone to Cairo, and a date for the meetings has not yet been set. Mediation efforts have been unified by the Egyptian and Qatari brothers. Zionist media is publishing fabricated and false news to stir public opinion about the negotiations.

“There is no agreement on the framework yet and Hamas has significant remarks. The Qatari statement has hastiness in it and is not correct. We will immediately inform you of any developments.”

So did Qatar jump the gun with their announcement, or was it an attempt to force Hamas to “fish or cut bait”?

“The fundamental and primary issue is a comprehensive and permanent cessation of aggression against the Palestinian people. We cannot hand over the keys in our hands and the cards held by the resistance. Prisoners with high sentences in the occupation jails are a priority in any deal.

“We hope to free all prisoners and lift the siege on the Gaza Strip,” Hamas political bureau member Mohammed Nazzal said one day earlier in a statement to the Palestine Today news outlet. “Netanyahu must know that the weapons of the resistance are raised, and the battle will not stop unless he withdraws from the Gaza Strip. Mediators must know that the interests of the Palestinian people come before anything else.”

According to Arab media, a delegation from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad is expected to arrive in Cairo for further talks on the hostage deal.

Israel’s Channel 12 News reported that Hamas insists on a complete ceasefire — at least for a decade. The terror group is also reportedly ready to give up power in Gaza to an agreed-upon Palestinian Authority government, but refuses to exile its commanders and stop producing rockets.

On other words, no deal.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly ruled out any ceasefire deal that requires Israel to release “thousands” of Palestinian Authority prisoners incarcerated in Israeli prisons, or the removal of Israel Defense Forces from the enclave.

“I hear talk about all kinds of deals,” Netanyahu told students of the Bnei David Institutions on Tuesday during a visit to the Jewish community of Eli, in Samaria. “I would like to make it clear: We will not conclude this war without achieving all of its goals.”

The goals of Israel’s Swords of Iron War are the elimination of Hamas’ governing and military capabilities, the return of all hostages held in Gaza, and Israeli security control over the enclave on “the day after” to ensure the enclave “never again poses a threat to Israel.”

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.