NEW YORK (Agencies): According to the New York Times, Israel and Hamas are expected to reach a prolonged ceasefire agreement within the next two weeks. The US-brokered deal could potentially halt the fighting in Gaza for about two months, with Hamas releasing the remaining Israeli hostages in exchange for the IDF ceasing its attacks on Gaza.
A written draft that combines proposals from both sides has been compiled over the past ten days and is set to be discussed at talks in Paris on Sunday. The conflict, which began with a Hamas incursion into Israel on October 7, has resulted in approximately 1,200 deaths and 240 hostages. The IDF’s retaliatory operation has led to 26,422 Palestinian casualties and 65,087 injuries, as per Gaza’s health ministry. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) recently ordered Israel to take all necessary measures to prevent genocide in Gaza.
Hamas released about half of the hostages during a week-long truce in November. However, according to Israeli authorities, the group still holds 136 individuals, with an estimated two dozen captives believed to have been killed in the fighting.
The proposed ceasefire deal is said to be “more expansive in scope” than the previous one. The first phase would see a cessation of hostilities for 30 days, during which women, the elderly, and wounded hostages would be released by Hamas. A second phase, agreed upon during this period, would extend the truce for another month in exchange for the release of Israeli soldiers and male civilians.
The agreement also aims to increase the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza. While the number of Palestinians to be released from Israeli prisons is yet to be negotiated, sources describe it as a “solvable issue.”
Although the deal does not meet Hamas’s demand for a permanent ceasefire, officials believe a two-month break could lead to less intensive Israeli attacks on Gaza. The truce could also open a window for diplomacy, potentially facilitating a broader resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.