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Hamas agreed to US proposal for peace talks concerning Israeli hostages

A senior Hamas official informed Reuters on Saturday that Hamas has accepted a US request to initiate negotiations for the release of Israeli hostages, including soldiers and civilians.

This development comes 16 days after the commencement of an agreement aimed at ending the Gaza conflict.

The source, speaking anonymously to Reuters due to the sensitive nature of the discussions, revealed that Hamas has dropped its previous demand for Israel to commit to a lasting ceasefire before entering negotiations.

Instead, Hamas is now prepared to engage in negotiations during the initial six-week phase of the agreement to achieve this goal.

According to a Palestinian official close to the peace talks facilitated by international mediators, accepting the US proposal could pave the way for a framework agreement and potentially resolve the nine-month conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

An Israeli negotiator, also speaking anonymously, expressed on Friday that there is now a real possibility of reaching a deal.

In the ongoing Gaza conflict, which has spanned nine months, Israel had previously rejected Hamas’ conditions as unacceptable. This recent development marks a significant shift in the negotiation dynamics.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath. However, it was stated on Friday that negotiations will resume next week, underscoring the existing gaps between the parties.

Since Hamas initiated an offensive against southern Israeli communities on October 7, Gaza health officials report over 3,800 Palestinian fatalities in the conflict, with approximately 250 Palestinians currently held captive.

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