Israel Rejects Ceasefire Deal Reached with Mediators and Hamas

ON 05/08/2024 AT 07 : 40 AM

A landmark ceasefire plan proposed by Egyptian and Qatari mediators was approved by Hamas on May 6, only to have Israel reject it the next day.
Israeli tank in Gaza.
As Israeli Defense Forces ram across Rafah, the last refuge city for Palestinians in Gaza, an IDF tank turret points at the "I Love Gaza" sign overlooking the southern border of Gaza that it shares with Egypt. Shadi, via X

Though it was obvious for almost the entire time ceasefire proposals were being discussed, what this interchange proves is that the mediators operating in Qatar have no real authority to negotiate on behalf of anyone in this conflict and that Israel has no interest in peace.

Even when supposedly coordinated between the Egyptian and Qatari representatives handling the mediation side, and representatives from Israel including its Mossad operations, Hamas via its political head Ismail Haniyeh who resides in Qatar, and the United States via multiple representatives, including from the U.S. State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency, it is now abundantly clear either that communication is very poor between the mediators and those affected by the deals, or that even the most carefully crafted of proposals between the parties will in the end be sabotaged by Israel.

The terms for the ceasefire plan the mediators put forth and that Hamas accepted were for a three-stage plan leading to the end of all hostilities in Gaza. Each stage would last 42 days. Once the first was complete, the second would begin, followed by the third after the second was done.

According to documents seen by journalists from western as well as Middle Eastern publications who had access to the proposals, Stage One of the ceasefire proposal requires:

A complete shutdown of all warfare operations

Cutback of the use of Israeli planes and drones as surveillance aircraft over Gaza to just 10 hours per day, except for when prisoners are being exchange. When the prisoners are being swapped the duration for which all aircraft must be idle increases to 12 hours per day.

Pullback of all Israeli Forces to the eastern border of Gaza, to a predefined area. Soldiers and military equipment can be held within Gaza but must be confined to these narrow sections as of this time.

Full freedom of movement of Palestinians in Gaza during the ceasefire period, so they can return to their original homes

Completely unrestricted entry and movement of humanitarian aid into Gaza. This humanitarian aid must include for the first time all items needed to set up and begin operations again for power stations along the strip, as well as for hospitals, health centers, bakeries and other food supply areas, and to help trade begin in the Strip.

Hamas to release 33 captives it has been holding. Those captives were to consist of women, male civilians aged under 19 and over 50, and those who are ill.

Israel to release 30 Palestinian prisoners for each civilian captive released by Hamas, and 50 Palestinian prisoners exchanged for every 50 female soldier returned to Israel.

Israel setting up at least 60,000 temporary homes and a total of 200,000 tent shelters in Gaza.

Israel to begin the emergency short-term reconstruction of Gaza, starting with fundamental needs such as water, power, shelter, schools, and hospital facilities.

There is in fact a far more detailed day-by-day rollout for each part of Stage One, including the Israeli military beginning its pullback three days after the release of the first three captives by Hamas. On the 22nd day, a little more than halfway through this stage, Israeli must begin pullout from the center of the Gaza strip and eastward as described above.

Stage Two of the ceasefire demands:

The permanent end of all Israeli military operations in Gaza, including the complete withdrawal of all troops.

A complete exchange of remaining prisoners held by each side of the war.

Stage Three involves:

Exchange of the remains of dead prisoners or captives which had been in the possession of each side.

Shutdown of the last remnants of the siege of Gaza, including the presence of civilian Israeli occupier entities. This would also include a formal declaration that the war between Israel and Hamas and the Palestinian people of Gaza.

Launch of the longer-term reconstruction of Gaza, for work which could take three to five years to complete.

According to the document viewed by outsiders, the official guarantors of the agreement are Qatar, Egypt, the United States, and the United Nations.

It is a detailed plan, with specifics well beyond any plan which has so far become public. It also comes across as somewhat reasoned and sane.

It is also one that caused people living in the city of Rafah, where Israel was already beginning the forced evacuation of the first 100,000 people in that last refuge city, to cheer and celebrate openly in the streets, even as bombs continued to rain down around them from Israeli Defense Forces’ aircraft that the Palestinians hoped just had not been given the orders yet.

But in the end, this was also one that Israel completely disavowed as something they ever agreed to.