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Gaza ceasefire plan hangs by a thread as Hamas seeks change

DOHA: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday (June 12) that Hamas had proposed numerous changes, some unworkable, to a US-backed proposal for a ceasefire in Gaza, but that mediators They were determined to close the gaps.

The proposal outlined by US President Joe Biden envisions a truce and gradual release of Israeli hostages in Gaza in exchange for Palestinians imprisoned in Israel, ultimately leading to a permanent end to the war.

At a news conference with Qatar’s prime minister in Doha, Blinken said some of the counterproposals from the militant group that administers Gaza sought to modify terms it had agreed to in previous talks.

Negotiators from the United States, Egypt and Qatar have tried for months to mediate a ceasefire in the conflict – which has killed tens of thousands of Palestinians and devastated the enclave – and free the hostages, of whom more are believed to be Of 100 remain captive in Gaza. .

“Hamas could have answered with one word: Yes,” Blinken said.

“Instead, Hamas waited almost two weeks and then proposed further changes, several of which go beyond the positions it had previously adopted and accepted.”

The United States has said that Israel has accepted its proposal, but Israel has not stated this publicly.

Izzat al-Rishq of Hamas’s political bureau said its formal response to the US proposal was “responsible, serious and positive” and “opens a broad path” for an agreement.

Hamas also wants written assurances from the United States about the ceasefire plan, two Egyptian security sources said.

Blinken said Washington would present proposals for the postwar administration and reconstruction of Gaza in the coming weeks: “We need to have plans for the day after the conflict in Gaza ends, and we need to have them as soon as possible.”

Major powers are stepping up efforts to stop the conflict, in part to prevent it from turning into a regional war, with a dangerous flashpoint being the escalation of hostilities on the Lebanon-Israel border.

Lebanese militia Hezbollah, backed by Iran, fired volleys of rockets into Israel on Wednesday in retaliation for the killing of a top Hezbollah field commander. Israel said it had in turn attacked the launch sites from the air.

Taleb Abdallah, or Abu Taleb, was the highest-ranking Hezbollah commander killed in the conflict, a security source said, and Hezbollah official Hashem Safieddine promised that the group would expand its operations against Israel.

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