The Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas announced on Tuesday April 9 that it was studying a proposed truce in the fighting and air raids in Gaza, accompanied by the release of dozens of Israeli hostages, despite the rejection of some of its demands.

Six months after the start of the war, the mediating countries of Qatar, Egypt and the United States put on the table a proposal in three stages, the first of which provides for a six-week truce, explained a source within Hamas. Saying it “appreciates” the efforts of the mediators and “wishes” an agreement, the movement said in a statement on Tuesday that the Israelis “had not responded to any” of their demands, without further details.

“Despite this, the leadership of the movement is studying the proposal (…) and will inform the mediators of its response,” added the movement, as Palestinians prepare for Eid-el-Fitr on Wednesday, celebrations marking the end of the month of Ramadan.

Release of hostages and delivery of humanitarian aid

In addition to a six-week ceasefire, the proposal also provides, initially, for the release of 42 Israeli hostages in exchange for 800 to 900 Palestinians detained in Israel, the entry of 400 to 500 trucks of food aid per day and the return home of residents of the northern Gaza Strip displaced by the war, according to the source within Hamas.

Hamas demands a definitive ceasefire, the Israeli withdrawal from all of Gaza and the delivery of more aid for the local population, threatened with famine according to the UN.

Without subscribing to a definitive ceasefire and a withdrawal from the entire territory, Israel on Sunday withdrew its troops from Khan Younes, in the south of the Palestinian enclave, the epicenter of fighting in recent weeks, and announced the he entry of 419 aid trucks on Monday, the highest number since the start of the war.

His defense minister, Yoav Gallant, judged “the opportune moment” to conclude a truce, which did not, however, prevent the airstrikes from continuing during the night from Monday to Tuesday, with Hamas notably denouncing a deadly strike in the center of the territory.

Questioned by the BBC, the spokesperson for the Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Majed Al-Ansari, said he was more “optimistic” than a few days ago, adding however that the negotiations are far from being in their final “stretch.”

Netanyahu announces offensive on Rafah

French President Emmanuel Macron, Egyptian Head of State Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and Jordanian King Abdullah II called for an “immediate” and “permanent” ceasefire and the release of “all the hostages” in Gaza in an article published in four international newspapers, including Le Monde.

If the truce talks continue, the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, says he is still keen on an offensive on the town of Rafah, the last bastion according to him of Hamas in the Gaza Strip. “It will happen − there is a date,” he said in a video message, although he did not specify the timing. Mr. Netanyahu opposes a permanent ceasefire, saying instead that the Israeli army must “wipe out” Hamas’s military capabilities before considering ending its operation.

Almost immediately after this announcement by Mr. Netanyahu, the United States reaffirmed its opposition to this operation on Rafah, a town bordering Egypt where nearly a million and a half Palestinians are crowded together, in very precarious conditions. , the majority displaced by the violence. “We have made it clear to Israel that we believe that a massive military invasion of Rafah would have an extremely harmful effect on these civilians and would ultimately harm Israel’s security,” he told reporters. State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller.