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Hamas Proposes Ceasefire in Gaza, Israel Weighs Response

Hamas has put forward a ceasefire proposal aimed at quelling the violence in Gaza for a period of four-and-a-half months. The terms include the release of all hostages, the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Gaza Strip, and negotiations towards a definitive end to the conflict.

According to reports, Israel's government spokesperson stated that Israel is carefully examining the offer, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu scheduled to address the media later today. However, Israel's Channel 13 TV cited an unnamed official who indicated that certain aspects of the proposal were deemed unacceptable. Israeli officials are reportedly deliberating whether to reject the offer outright or seek modifications.

The Hamas proposal, initially disclosed by Reuters, comes as a response to a prior initiative crafted by U.S. and Israeli intelligence officials. This earlier proposal was conveyed to Hamas last week by mediators from Qatar and Egypt.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken engaged in discussions regarding the ceasefire offer during his visit to Israel. Blinken arrived in Israel following meetings with leaders from Qatar and Egypt, the two countries serving as mediators in the conflict resolution efforts. Subsequently, Blinken met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.

The military escalation in Gaza commenced after militants affiliated with Hamas carried out attacks in southern Israel, resulting in casualties and the capture of hostages. The Gaza health ministry reports a devastating toll, with thousands of Palestinians confirmed dead and many more feared trapped under rubble.

Despite the proposed ceasefire, significant disparities persist between the opposing factions. Israel has previously insisted on the eradication of Hamas as a prerequisite for ending the conflict. However, sources suggest that Hamas has adopted a different stance, reframing the demand for an end to the war as a subject for future negotiations rather than an immediate condition for the truce.

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