Efforts to secure a ceasefire and hostage release in Gaza were gathering momentum on Friday after Hamas made a revised proposal on the terms of a deal and Israel said it would resume stalled negotiations.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told U.S. President Joe Biden on Thursday he would send a delegation to resume negotiations, and an Israeli official said his country’s team would be led by the head of the Mossad intelligence agency.

A source in Israel‘s negotiating team, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there was now a real chance of achieving agreement.

The Israeli remarks were in sharp contrast to past instances in the nine-month-old war in Gaza, when Israel said conditions attached by Hamas were not acceptable.

A Palestinian official close to the internationally mediated peace efforts said the latest proposal by the Palestinian resistance group could lead to a framework agreement if embraced by Israel.

He said Hamas was no longer demanding as a pre-condition an Israeli commitment to a permanent ceasefire before the signing of an agreement, and would allow negotiations to achieve that throughout a first six-week phase.

“Should the sides need more time to seal an agreement on a permanent ceasefire, the two sides should agree there would be no return to the fighting until they do that,” the official told Reuters.

Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, was quoted by Turkish media as saying he hoped a “final ceasefire” could be secured “in a couple of days”, and urged Western countries to put pressure on Israel to accept the terms on offer.


Gaza health authorities say more than 38,000 Palestinians have been killed in the Israeli offensive launched in response to a Hamas-led attack on Israel last Oct. 7 in which Israel said 1,200 people were killed and over 250 taken hostage.

The war has displaced hundreds of thousands of Gazans and caused a humanitarian crisis. It has also fuelled tension across the region, triggering exchanges of fire across Israel‘s northern border with the Iran-backed Hezbollah group in Lebanon.

Hezbollah said on Friday its leader, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, and a top Hamas official, Khalil Al-Hayya, had met to discuss the latest developments in Gaza.

A Hezbollah official later said the group would stop firing as soon as any Gaza ceasefire agreement took effect, echoing previous statements by the group, which says its rocket and drone attacks on northern Israel are in support of the Palestinians.

“If there is a Gaza agreement, then from zero hour there will be a ceasefire in Lebanon,” the official told Reuters.


The White House said Biden had, during their phone call on Thursday, welcomed Netanyahu’s decision on resuming the stalled talks “in an effort to close out the deal”.

Some far-right partners in Netanyahu’s governing coalition have indicated they may quit the government if the war ends before Hamas is destroyed. Their departure would probably end Netanyahu’s premiership.

Israel’s Channel 7 News reported that, at a cabinet meeting on Thursday, far-right coalition partner Itamar Ben Gvir had accused security and defence officials of deciding to resume the talks without consulting him.

Hamas’ new proposal responded to a plan made public in late May by Biden that would include the release of about 120 hostages still held in Gaza and a ceasefire.

The plan entails the gradual release of hostages and the pullback of Israeli forces over an initial two phases, and the freeing of Palestinian prisoners. A third phase involves Gaza‘s reconstruction and the return of the remains of dead hostages.

Israel has previously said it will accept only temporary pauses in the fighting until Hamas, which governs Gaza, is eradicated.

An Israeli delegation in Egypt on Thursday discussed details of the possible deal, Egyptian security sources said. They said Israel would respond to the Hamas proposal after discussions with Qatar which, like Egypt, has mediated the peace efforts.

In the latest fighting in Gaza, residents said Israeli tanks had pushed into the Al-Nasser neighbourhood in the northern part of Rafah, near the border with Egypt. Israel said its operations were aimed at dismantling Hamas’ armed wing.

An Israeli airstrike on a house killed five Palestinians, including three children, in Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza, Gaza medics said. Seven Palestinians were killed in an Israeli military operation in the West Bank city of Jenin, the Palestinian health ministry said.

Gazans, who desperately need aid such as food and drinking water, reacted cautiously to the prospect of renewed talks. The only previous truce, agreed in November, lasted seven days.

“We in Gaza are people who sleep on death and wake up to death. We know that at any time we can die,” Ibtisam Al-Athamna, who said she had been displaced nine times during the war, told Reuters in Khan Younis in southern Gaza.

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