What We Know About the Current Israel–Hamas Ceasefire Proposal
A three-phase deal will include prisoner swaps and a ceasefire at least six weeks long.
A ceasefire in the war between Israel and Hamas could be imminent—at least, according to the Quataris.
In remarks at Johns Hopkins University’s Foreign Policy Institute in Washington, D.C., Al Jazeera reports, Qatari Foreign Ministry spokesperson Majed al-Ansari claimed talks in Paris over the weekend are on the verge of resulting in a ceasefire to tend to humanitarian concerns. The plan, Secretary of State Antony Blinken claimed, "is a strong one and a compelling one that offers hope.”
Ansari claimed the Israeli negotiators agreed to the proposal developed by the U.S., Qatari, Egyptian and Israeli officials in Paris—specifically, American CIA higher-ups, Israeli Mossad leadership, and Egyptian intelligence service operatives.
Al Jazeera reports there has been “an initial positive confirmation from the Hamas side also of the general framework.” Nevertheless, reports claim the proposal for a humanitarian ceasefire lacks some detail.
Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani previously noted the “progress” that was made over the weekend in Paris. At an Atlantic Council event in Washington, D.C. on Monday (Thani was stateside to continue negotiating the ceasefire), he said, "We are in a better place than we where we were a few weeks ago.” He also said that Qatar would “pass the proposal to Hamas and we hope they will react positively and agree to negotiate in a constructive way.” It appears the Qataris have, and it appears Hamas’ reaction is what the parties had hoped.
The proposal is reportedly a three-phase agreement. The first: A six-week ceasefire and a peaceful prisoner swap. Hamas kidnapped more than 200 Israelis in the October 7 attack, whereas some cite Israel’s decision to ramp up a mass detention policy as a motivating factor in the October 7 attacks. The parties have not yet been able to agree on terms for the other two phases. Nevertheless, the second phase is expected to include more swaps of civilian and military captives, and the third phase will be the exchange of hostage remains. How long the ceasefire will be for each of the final two stages remains undetermined, though it is expected each phase will add multiple weeks to the ceasefire.
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But the aforementioned lack of detail might not be a barrier to starting the first phase. An unnamed Israeli official told Axios, "The goal is to enter phase A with a statement on phases B and C without closing them down in detail.”
The duration of the truce in the second and third stages has not yet been defined and will be determined in the negotiations, but senior Israeli officials estimated that it would likely be several more weeks of a pause in the fighting in addition to the original six-week ceasefire.
"Now the Qataris' big test is to get Hamas to say yes and agree to start talking about the details," per the Israeli official.