Palestinian rescuers search the rubble and debris of the Latin Patriarchate Holy Family School after it was hit during Israeli military bombardment, in Gaza City on July 7, 2024. Image Credit: AFP

Gaza: A top Hamas official told AFP on Sunday that the Palestinian militants were ready to discuss a hostage deal and an end to the Gaza war without a “complete and permanent ceasefire”.

The apparent easing of the Hamas position comes amid renewed mediation efforts by the United States, Qatar and Egypt to tempt the rivals into talks to halt nine months of war and secure a deal to release hostages held by Hamas and prisoners detained by Israel.

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“Hamas had previously required that Israel agree to a complete and permanent ceasefire,” the official told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“This step was by-passed, as the mediators pledged that as long as the prisoner negotiations continued, the ceasefire would continue,” he added.

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Israel has previously strongly opposed Hamas demands for a permanent ceasefire, officials said.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made the destruction of Hamas and the return of all hostages the central aim of Israel’s military campaign launched after the October 7 attacks.

US President Joe Biden outlined a plan on May 31, that he said was proposed by Israel and promised “a roadmap to an enduring ceasefire and the release of all hostages”.


An Israeli negotiator went to Doha for talks with the mediators on Friday. Israel said there are still “gaps” in counter-proposals made by Hamas but that the negotiator would return to Doha this week.

An official with knowledge of the mediation said US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director William Burns would also go to Qatar this week.

Image Credit: AFP

The Hamas official said Egypt and Turkey would also step up their efforts in coming days to reach an accord.

If full negotiations start, Hamas expects them to take between two to three weeks, according to the official.

Biden said Israel’s plan proposed a first six-week truce with an Israeli withdrawal from populated areas of the Gaza Strip and an initial release of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for some hostages seized on October 7.

The Hamas official said that if a ceasefire started it would want up to 400 trucks of aid to enter the besieged Palestinian territory each day.

The war started with Hamas’s October 7 attack on southern Israel which resulted in the deaths of 1,195 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli figures.

Hamas also seized 251 hostages, according to Israel. Of the 116 hostages who remain in Gaza, 42 are believed by the Israeli army to be dead.

Israel’s retaliatory offensive has killed at least 38,153 people, also mostly civilians, according to the health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza.