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prospect of ceasefire in Gaza brightens as Israel agrees to resume negotiations

Hopes for a Gaza ceasefire have risen as Israel agrees to resume negotiations, prompted by Hamas presenting a revised proposal for potential terms.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu informed US President Joe Biden on Thursday of his decision to send a delegation, led by the head of the Mossad intelligence agency, to restart the stalled talks.

An anonymous source within Israel’s negotiating team indicated that there is a genuine possibility of reaching an agreement following Hamas’s revised proposal, received by Israel on Wednesday. The source described Hamas’s proposal as a significant breakthrough but did not provide specific details.

Israel’s decision marks a departure from past instances during the nearly nine-month-old Gaza conflict, where Hamas’s conditions were previously deemed unacceptable. The renewed negotiations suggest a potential shift toward resolving the ongoing conflict and achieving a ceasefire.

President Joe Biden welcomed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s move to resume negotiations with Hamas. The White House confirmed that Biden and Netanyahu discussed Hamas’s response to potential deal terms, and Biden expressed support for Netanyahu’s efforts to finalize the agreement.

An anonymous source from the Israeli negotiating team mentioned, “There’s a deal with a real chance of implementation,” while cautioning that “political considerations” could still pose a risk to the agreement. Some far-right members of Netanyahu’s coalition have threatened to withdraw support if the conflict ends before Hamas is completely subdued, potentially jeopardizing Netanyahu’s leadership.

During a Thursday evening cabinet meeting, Itamar Ben Gvir, a far-right coalition partner, criticized top security and defense officials for resuming talks without consulting him, as reported by Israel’s Channel 7 News.

The current negotiations are based on a proposal publicly announced by Biden in late May, which includes the release of around 120 hostages held in Gaza and a ceasefire plan. The proposal outlines phased steps including the gradual release of hostages, Israeli forces’ withdrawal in two phases, and the release of Palestinian prisoners. A third phase focuses on Gaza’s reconstruction and repatriation of deceased hostages’ remains.

Egypt and Qatar have previously mediated efforts to end the Gaza conflict, hosting talks in their respective countries.

In recent clashes, Israeli tanks moved into the Al-Nasser neighborhood in Rafah near the Egyptian border, targeting remaining Hamas units. Gaza medics reported an Israeli airstrike in Jabalia refugee camp resulting in five Palestinian deaths, including three children. Additionally, five Palestinians were killed during an Israeli military operation in the West Bank city of Jenin, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

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