Hamas has responded to a ceasefire proposal backed by Israel and the U.S. with a counteroffer of its own in which hostages would be released in exchange for Israel completely withdrawing from Gaza and satisfying other demands, including negotiating an end to the war.
The Hamas counterproposal, details of which were first reported by Reuters, sets out a plan of three distinct 45-day stages. By the end of the final stage, an agreement would need to have been reached for a permanent ceasefire—something which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has so far ruled out, vowing instead to deliver a complete victory over Hamas.
In the first proposed 45-day pause in fighting, certain groups of hostages that Hamas captured during its Oct. 7 attacks in southern Israel would be released. All Israeli women captives would be freed along with males under the age of 19. All elderly and sick hostages would also be released. In exchange, Israel would be expected to free Palestinian women and children from its jails.