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Egypt submits proposal to end war, free all hostages, form PA-Hamas government to rule Gaza

Israeli officials confirm to several Hebrew media outlets that Egypt has placed on the table a new proposal for a truce and a further release of Israeli hostages held by Gazan terrorists, with some indicating Jerusalem isn’t flat-out rejecting it and that it could lead to negotiations.

According to the Saudi news website Asharq, which quotes a source who participated in the talks between Egypt and Hamas in Cairo last week, the Egyptian initiative is a plan to end hostilities and release all the remaining hostages, in three stages.

The first stage would be a two-week halt in fighting, extendable to three or four, in exchange for the release of 40 hostages — women, minors and elderly men, especially sick ones.

  • In return, Israel would release 120 Palestinian security prisoners of the same categories. During this time, hostilities would stop, Israeli tanks would withdraw, and humanitarian aid would enter Gaza.
  • The second phase would see an Egypt-sponsored “Palestinian national talk” aimed at ending the division between Palestinian factions — mainly the Palestinian Authority and the Hamas terror group — and leading to the formation of a technocratic government in the West Bank and Gaza that would oversee the reconstruction of Gaza and pave the way for Palestinian parliamentary and presidential elections.
  • The third stage would include a comprehensive ceasefire, the release of the remaining Israeli hostages, including soldiers, in return for a to-be-determined number of Palestinian security prisoners in Israeli jails affiliated with Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group — including those arrested after October 7 and some convicted of serious terror offenses. In this phase, Israel would withdraw its forces from cities in the Gaza Strip and would allow displaced Gazans from the enclave’s north to return to their homes.

Hamas politburo leader Ismail Haniyeh returned to Qatar yesterday after a four-day visit to Cairo to discuss the Egyptian proposal with the terror group’s political bureau. In parallel, a delegation of the Islamic Jihad has arrived in Cairo today for talks with Egyptian officials.

  • It is believed that 129 hostages abducted from Israel by Hamas on October 7 remain in Gaza — not all of them alive — after 105 civilians were released from Hamas captivity during a weeklong truce in late November.

Four hostages were released prior to that, and one was rescued by troops. The bodies of eight hostages have also been recovered and three hostages were mistakenly killed by the military. The Israel Defense Forces has confirmed the deaths of 22 of those still held by Hamas, citing new intelligence and findings obtained by troops operating in Gaza.

  • Hamas is also holding the bodies of fallen IDF soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin since 2014, as well as two Israeli civilians, Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed, who are both thought to be alive after entering the Strip of their own accord in 2014 and 2015, respectively.

Source: TOI