Thu 08 Feb 2024 9:08 am - Jerusalem Time

A minefield for Netanyahu... Implications of Hamas’ response to the proposed agreement

By Abdullah Aqrabawi

More than 10 days after receiving the “Paris meeting proposal,” the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) submitted its response to the proposed framework for stopping the aggression and exchanging prisoners, to mediators in Qatar and Egypt.

Hamas' response received a set of initial reactions, initiated by the Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman Al Thani, who said that Hamas' response "includes observations, but in general it is positive."

From Cairo, an Egyptian official reported that the response received by the Ministry of General Intelligence in Cairo reflects the positive spirit on the Palestinian side.

As for Washington, US President Joe Biden’s response was that Hamas’ response was “exaggerated,” while the Israeli side contented itself with announcing receipt of Hamas’ response. The Mossad’s comment stated, “Hamas’ response was received by the Qatari mediator, and its details are being studied in depth by all parties participating in the negotiations."

Response details

Al Jazeera had announced that it had obtained details of Hamas' response to the proposed framework for the truce agreement in Gaza, which it presented to the mediators yesterday, Wednesday.

Sources explained to Al Jazeera that the movement agreed to a framework agreement to reach a complete and sustainable ceasefire in 3 stages, each stage lasting 45 days, and including agreement on the exchange of prisoners and the bodies of the dead, ending the siege, and reconstruction.

Hamas demanded that the complete truce talks be completed before the start of the second phase, and that Israeli forces be ensured outside the borders of the Gaza Strip, and that the reconstruction process begin.

Signs and connotations

The first indication that emerged in Hamas' response to the proposed framework paper was the period of time the movement took to mature its response.

The period of more than a week indicates that Hamas did not submit its response under field or political pressure. It also engaged in in-depth and detailed internal and other dialogues with the resistance factions that included all the issues addressed in the framework paper.

The second indication lies in the ability to deal with the political interactions related to the war on Gaza and to confirm its presence as a political party leading the negotiations on the Palestinian side, something that the regional environment prevented during the summer 2014 war that Israel launched for nearly 50 days on the besieged Strip, where he headed the Palestinian delegation. The negotiator at that time was Azzam Al-Ahmad, representing the Palestine Liberation Organization.

At the same time, Hamas’s response to regional and international initiatives aimed at stopping the Israeli aggression on Gaza is determined by the movement - as stated in its response - to the central goal of a “comprehensive ceasefire.”

Hamas' response was expressed by "stopping military operations between the parties and achieving complete and sustainable calm."

Hamas had announced this position since the end of the last phase of the exchange deal sponsored by Doha and Cairo, under which a number of foreign detainees were released in addition to a group of Israeli women and children in exchange for temporary truces and the release of Palestinian women and children from occupation prisons.


Hamas's response indicates that this demand still occupies the main priority and that there will be no change in its position. In its response, the movement clarified its understanding of the ceasefire demand as a withdrawal of the Israeli army, a cessation of combat operations, and a halt to the flights of all types of aircraft.

Hamas's response also shows that it designed the attached appendix to the framework paper in a way that includes a guarantee that the movement will complete paths that it considers essential in order to accept the start of a qualitative exchange deal.

These paths are "the exchange of prisoners between the two parties, ending the siege on Gaza, reconstruction, the return of residents and displaced people to their homes, and providing shelter and relief requirements for all residents in all areas of the Gaza Strip."

Hamas aims to ensure that any step in the course of negotiations to stop the fire will be reflected in the Palestinians in Gaza, where Israel has placed them in very difficult circumstances.

With regard to the exchange of prisoners, Hamas was keen in its response to guarantee in the first phase the release of a specific number of Palestinian prisoners, including all prisoners in the occupation prisons, including women, children, the elderly (over 50 years of age) and the sick, who were arrested until the date of signing this agreement without exception. In addition to 1,500 Palestinian prisoners, Hamas nominates 500 of them to receive life sentences and high sentences.

Hamas's inclusion of the Al-Aqsa issue was in line with the goals of the "Al-Aqsa Flood" that it launched on October 7, 2023, and to confirm the importance of the issue and the validity of its narrative and intensify a national and Islamic issue that is subject to broad consensus.

Hamas's response also indicates that it was keen to include all issues under discussion by the parties and others related to the Palestinians and their rights. Its response was also detailed in response to the attempt at brevity sought by the “Framework Paper” issued by the Paris meeting.

In this regard, Hamas has taken the initiative to place its “detailed” response under discussion and discussion in what may sometimes be considered an explanation of the framework paper and an alternative to it in another angle.

The effects of Hamas’ response on Netanyahu’s position

It is clear that Hamas is well aware of the extent of the complications surrounding the Prime Minister of the occupying State, Benjamin Netanyahu, who is stuck between his position of rejecting the ceasefire in order to avoid facing investigation committees and corruption courts, and the position of his allies from the National Religious Movement and Religious Zionism, led by Itamar Ben Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich, who do not hide The principle of "blackmail" by which they impose their program on Netanyahu.

On the other hand, the voices of the members of the War Council who have joined the government since October 7, led by Benny Gantz and Gadi Eisenkot, are besieging Netanyahu with their repeated demands that Netanyahu must answer the major questions related to the war.

These positions are summed up in pushing for a deal to exchange detainees at a high price, and the decision on who will control Gaza the day after the war, in addition to formulating a vision for the future Palestinian Authority, and deciding on the northern front, and the return of the residents of the north and south to their homes.

Amid this environment in the government and the war council, opposition leader Yair Lapid is exerting pressure on Netanyahu in a different way with his offers to join the government and providing everything necessary for Netanyahu to conclude an exchange deal, as attention turns to the escalating demonstrations carried out by the families of the prisoners to demand their release.

Demands for de-escalation

Although the American position expressed by the leadership of the administration rejects the ceasefire and replaces it with long truces, the Biden administration is willing, through its movements in the region, to return to reducing escalation and calm in the hands of its preparations for the most important elections in its history at the end of the year.

American fear increases as the month of Ramadan approaches, which usually witnesses an Israeli escalation in Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque, resulting in a Palestinian reaction, the form and duration of which may differ this year in light of the genocide and massacres committed by Israel in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas developed its response amidst this complex and sensitive environment surrounding Netanyahu, and it realizes that the details of its response, individually and together, constitute detonators and a minefield that makes the situation more difficult for Netanyahu.

In the press conference yesterday, Netanyahu seemed stuck in his position and repeated the same statements about the necessity of eliminating Hamas above all else. This has become the subject of widespread skepticism.

Four months after the aggression on Gaza, the occupation Prime Minister is searching for a way out of his crisis, either by surrendering himself to his extremist allies, to the corruption courts, or to Hamas’ conditions.

Source: Al Jazeera


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A minefield for Netanyahu... Implications of Hamas’ response to the proposed agreement