Chairman and Chief Editor
Bedour Ibrahim

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will hold discussions about the offer

Israel Weighs Gaza Peace Offer as Hezbollah Fires Rocket Barrage

Thursday 04/July/2024 - 06:09 PM
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Israel is weighing a new proposal from Hamas that could lead to a cease-fire deal in Gaza، while weathering an intense rocket attack from Hezbollah as fighting escalates across the Lebanese border.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will hold discussions about the offer from Iran-backed Hamas with his negotiating team and security cabinet on Thursday، Channel 13 reported، after his office confirmed receipt of fresh terms. The development is the most promising sign in several weeks that a pause in hostilities could be on the cards after nearly nine months of war. 

US President Joe Biden and Netanyahu are expected to speak later on Thursday about the latest proposal، Israel’s state-owned broadcaster Kan News reported.

Stepping up aerial assault

At the same time، Hezbollah militants stepped up their aerial assault across the Lebanese border into northern Israel، firing more than 200 missiles and a “swarm of drones” at a number of Israeli army positions. The group said it’s responding to Israel’s assassination of a senior commander on Wednesday. Their escalating skirmishes are raising fears about a full-blown regional conflict that could draw in the US and Iran.

The two sides have been trading fire since the start of the war in Gaza، when Hezbollah launched rockets in solidarity with Hamas. The Lebanon-based group، which like Hamas is supported by Iran and designated a terrorist organization by the US، has said it won’t stop until Israel ceases its campaign in Gaza.

The worsening tensions have weighed on Israeli bonds and helped push up oil prices in the past month.

A Hamas official، who asked not to be identified discussing private deliberations، said the new cease-fire proposal remains in line with the group’s longstanding demands، including the retreat of Israeli forces and the return of displaced civilians. However، the new offer doesn’t insist on a full withdrawal of Israeli troops in the initial stage، Channel 13 said، citing an Israeli source it didn’t identify.

Edging closer to an agreement

While light on detail، the reports suggest Hamas and Israel may be edging closer to an agreement that would at least bring fighting to a temporary halt. Biden released a three-part peace plan at the end of May that neither side has so far seemed willing to adopt in full، partly because Hamas has insisted on the permanent departure of Israeli troops from the start.

Israel has resisted that demand، saying the military won’t end its campaign until Hamas is completely eradicated. Netanyahu’s government has committed to the idea of a temporary cease-fire as a way to release hostages seized on Oct. 7، when Hamas fighters attacked the country’s south and triggered their conflict. 

Hamas killed about 1،200 people in Israel on Oct. 7 and took about 250 hostage. About 120 remain in captivity، although at least 40 are believed to be dead.

Israel’s retaliatory military campaign that has killed more than 37،000 Palestinians، according to the Hamas-run health authority in Gaza، which doesn’t differentiate between civilians and combatants. The Israeli military has destroyed large swathes of the enclave and provoked a humanitarian crisis، according to the United Nations.

The US، Qatar and Egypt have worked to broker a hostage deal and cease-fire for months. Fighting has continued unabated since a week-long pause — the only one so far — that ended at the beginning of December.