The reported proposal involved a three-phased process that included a month-long pause in exchange for the release of at least 40 captives from Hamas and Palestinians from Israeli prisons.
Israel reportedly rejected Hamas’ proposal over a new captives deal, submitted on Sunday through Qatari and Egyptian mediators, Axios reported on Monday, citing two Israeli officials and a source privy to the matter.
The reported proposal had involved a three-phased process that included a month-long pause in exchange for the release of at least 40 captives from Hamas and Palestinians from Israeli prisons, an Israeli official told the American news website.
The proposal entailed Israeli forces’ pull out from Gaza and eventually an end to the war on the besieged enclave within the third phase of the deal.
The final stage would include the release of Israeli forces held in Gaza, the sources added.
Israel’s genocidal war on Gaza has killed at least 21,978 people and injured 57,697 since October 7. Euro-Med believes the death toll could be more than 30,000 due to those presumed dead under the rubble.
Israel has repeatedly rejected a ceasefire in Gaza and vowed to eliminate Hamas, a goal that analysts have widely described as unrealistic.
Commenting on the latest Hamas proposal, an unnamed Israeli official told Axios that the Israeli war cabinet said the deal was “unacceptable” and the talks are still in the “pre-beginning.”
“The proposal we received from Hamas on Sunday was totally off base and we asked the mediators to try and produce a more acceptable proposal. They are working on it and let’s see what happens,” an Israeli official told the news outlet.
“We are in the pre-beginning of the talks. The negotiations are not stuck anymore but they are also not making significant progress yet,” the official added.
The mediation of Qatar — where a Hamas political office is based — alongside Egypt had resulted in a temporary truce that lasted between November 24 and December 1.
The pause led to the release of at least 110 Israeli and foreign captives from Gaza, according to a Doha News tally. As part of the deal, Israel released 240 Palestinian women and children from Israeli prisons.
Israel believes there are 129 hostages currently in Gaza.
Israel said on December 2 that it had pulled out its negotiators from talks with Qatar, Egypt and the United States over a renewed pause, declaring an impasse in the negotiations.
Faced with mounting domestic pressure to release the remaining captives, Israel decided to return to the talks.
The divide within the Israeli cabinet has deepened as the Israeli economy and occupation forces sustain more losses in their war on Gaza, with at least 505 Israeli soldiers dead since October 7.
Israel is partially withdrawing its forces from Gaza in an attempt to “alleviate economic burdens” and strengthen its military capabilities, a source from the occupation forces told Newsweek on Monday.
“This move is expected to significantly alleviate economic burdens and enable them to gather strength for upcoming activities in the next year, as the fighting will persist and their services will still be needed,” the source said, signalling Israel’s intention to continue its war this year.
The divide among Israel’s cabinet was seen on Saturday when Israel’s Defence Minister Yoav Gallant and war cabinet member Benny Gantz rejected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s request to hold a joint press conference, according to The Times of Israel.
Speaking at a press conference on December 30, Netanyahu admitted that he has been facing “international pressure” while insisting that Israel has achieved its goals in Gaza.
Israel has mainly targeted Palestinian civilians and their structures since October 7 while carrying out harrowing field executions on the ground.
The occupation forces have destroyed at least 65,600 housing units in Gaza while partially damaging 177,200 others, according to Euro-Med.
Israel destroyed 305 schools,1,541 industrial facilities and 135 health facilities — including 23 hospitals and 56 clinics — while targeting 55 ambulances, according to the European watchdog.
On Sunday, Israeli forces raided the Al-Rafi’i School in northern Gaza, where it kidnapped and stripped down males as young as 15, Euro-Med revealed, reiterating the need for an international investigation into the kidnappings.
“In a testimony to Euro-Med Monitor, an elderly man called Youssef Khalil said two Israeli soldiers opened direct fire on his family in a school classroom before detaining him. After he was released, he discovered the decomposed bodies of his family in the school,” the European agency said on December 31.
Disturbing reports emerged on Monday over an Israeli soldier, identified as Harel Itach, kidnapping a baby from Gaza to Israel. The soldier had died in Gaza and the baby’s whereabouts are still unknown.
Social media users pointed to the Israeli Army Radio deleting the post on X over the incident.