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Hamas responds to cease-fire proposal backed by UN Security Council


(NewsNation) — Qatar and Egypt received a response Tuesday from Hamas and the Palestinian factions on a cease-fire proposal recently endorsed by the United Nations Security Council, Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on X.

“The two sides confirm that their joint mediation efforts with the United States of America will continue until an agreement is reached and that the mediators will examine the response and coordinate with the parties concerned regarding the next steps,” Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs wrote.

White House national security spokesperson John Kirby said Tuesday afternoon it is “helpful” to have Hamas’ response to the resolution but declined immediate comment as U.S. officials are still reviewing it.

Leaders from countries around the world, as well as lawmakers and activists in the United States, have been pushing for a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war. Israel’s offensive has killed more than 37,100 people in Gaza and displaced most of the people living there. Palestinians are facing widespread hunger because the war has largely cut off the flow of food, medicine and other supplies.

The offensive began after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel, when militants killed some 1,200 people and took 250 hostage.

Cease-fire proposal

Of the 15 members of the United Nations Security Council, 14 of them voted to adopt the resolution supporting the cease-fire deal, including the United States. Russia abstained from the vote, with U.N. Ambassador Vasily Nebenzia saying it’s because details of the three-phase plan haven’t been disclosed, and they still “have a whole host of questions.”

The proposal is split into three “phases” that officials say will lead to a “lasting and comprehensive end to the fighting.”

The first phase, according to the U.N., is an “immediate, full, and complete cease-fire with the release of hostages including women, the elderly and the wounded, the return of the remains of some hostages who have been killed, and the exchange of Palestinian prisoners.” In this phase, Israeli forces would withdraw from “populated areas” in Gaza.

During the second phase, there would be a permanent end to hostilities in exchange for the release of the rest of the hostages in Gaza and a full withdrawal of Israeli forces from the area. A “major multiyear reconstruction plan” for Gaza would begin in the third phase, with the remains of any dead hostages still in the Strip being returned to Israel.

A cease-fire under the first phase would continue as long as negotiations do, per the resolution.

According to the U.N., the resolution rejects any attempts to change the demographics or territory of the Gaza Strip. It also commits to a two-state solution and “stresses the importance of unifying the Gaza Strip with the West Bank under the Palestinian Authority.”

Blinken in the Middle East

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, visiting the Middle East this week for the eighth time since Oct. 7, has been trying to push through the deal.

On Tuesday, he met with Israeli officials in Tel Aviv and continued pressuring Hamas to accept the proposal, saying that the U.N. Security Council’s vote support makes it “as clear as it possibly could be” that the world backs the plan.

Blinken said the proposal would bring an immediate cease-fire and commit the parties to negotiate an enduring one.

“The cease-fire that would take place immediately would remain in place, which is manifestly good for everyone. And then we’ll have to see,” Blinken said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.