Gaza: Egypt floats ambitious plan to end Israeli war on the enclave

Egypt has put forward an ambitious, initial proposal to end the Israeli war on Gaza with a cease-fire, a phased hostage release, and the creation of a Palestinian government of experts who would administer the Gaza Strip and occupied West Bank, a senior Egyptian official and a European diplomat stated.

The proposal was made by the Egyptian mediators, who, along with Qataris, have mediated a previous truce in the Israeli war on the Gaza Strip, starting on October 7.

A delegation representing the Palestinian Resistance Movement Hamas arrived in Cairo last week to discuss an Egyptian proposal for a ceasefire in Gaza.

The Hamas delegation, headed by the movement’s head of political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh didn’t reject the proposal and vowed to respond following discussions with the Hamas leadership in Gaza.

Media reports suggest that while Israel accepts certain parts of the proposal, the government of Benjamin Netanyahu rejects the final provisions regarding a permanent ceasefire. An official Israel position, however, is yet to be announced.

The Arabic version of the proposal was published by the Al-Jazeera Arabic website, as follows:

First Stage:

1- The first stage includes a humanitarian deal lasting seven to ten days, during which Hamas will release all its civilians, including women, children, the sick and the elderly, in exchange for Israel’s release of an appropriate number of Palestinian prisoners in its custody:

(a) A full ceasefire in all areas of the Gaza Strip from both sides, the redeployment of Israeli forces away from the vicinity of population centers and the allowing of free movement of citizens from south to north, as well as the movement of cars and trucks. Hamas commits to stop all forms of operations against Israel.

(b) Suspension of all forms of Israeli air activity, including drones and reconnaissance aircraft, in all areas of the Gaza Strip.

(c) Intensifying the entry of humanitarian and relief aid (medicines, medical supplies, fuel, food) to all areas of the Gaza Strip, especially between Gaza City and the northern Gaza Strip.

Second Stage:

2- The second phase includes the release of all female soldiers detained by Hamas in exchange for a number of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prisons (to be) agreed upon by both sides, as well as the handover of all bodies held by both sides since the start of operations on October 7, 2023.

This phase extends for seven days, in accordance with the criteria and procedures in the first phase.

Third Stage:

3- During which negotiations will be held for a period of one month to discuss the release of all Israeli military personnel by Hamas in exchange for the release by Israel of a number of Palestinian prisoners agreed upon by both sides.

During this stage, the redeployment of Israeli forces outside the borders of the Gaza Strip will take place, with the continued cessation of all air activities and Hamas’ commitment to stop all military activities against Israel.

Determinants of the implementation of the proposal:

4- Ceasefire between the two sides for 48 hours before implementing the proposal so that both sides may agree on the names of those released in the first and second phases, whether from Israel or Hamas.

The talks will take place through indirect negotiations held in Egypt between the Israeli and Hamas delegations with the participation of Egypt, Qatari, and the US.

5- The transition from stage to stage should not take place until after the implementation of all the procedures of the previous stage.

6- Once Israel and Hamas accept the proposal, and once the lists of names are exchanged, the implementation of the agreement will begin.

7- Both parties shall commit to the time limit for negotiations in the third phase. Once an agreement is reached, it will be declared in conjunction with the announcement of a complete ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.

8- Egypt, Qatar, and the US are responsible for coordinating the formation of a non-factional and political government -technocrats- that will administer the Gaza Strip and the West Bank once a full ceasefire is announced.

9- The agreement will be implemented with guarantees from Egypt, Qatar, and the United States.