Reports: Israel-Hamas Ceasefire in ‘Final Stages’; Hamas Refuses to Release Israelis

YERUSHALAYIM -
Israeli police secure the site of a stabbing attack in the Old City of Yerushalayim, Friday. (Reuters/Ammar Awad)

Arab media reported Friday that the ceasefire deal between Israel and Hamas, being brokered by Egypt and U.N. officials, was in its “final stages.” The latest reports said that the deal would entail at least one year of a total ceasefire between the two sides, in exchange for Israel’s allowing more and a wider variety of goods into Gaza. In a social media post, U.S. negotiator Jason Greenblatt lauded Egyptian and U.N. officials “for their roles in an effort to end the violence & terror in the Gaza area. Much can be achieved for all people in the region through honest talk and meaningful action. Terror and violence have held back the Palestinians of Gaza for too long and will never succeed. There can be a better future; it is time to embrace it.”

Meanwhile, the Lebanese Al-Akhbar reported over the weekend that Hamas had rejected a proposal for the establishment of a Gaza sea route via a port in Cyprus in exchange for the release of Israelis held by Hamas. A source in the terror group said that the issue of the release of the Israelis was a “complicated one that will take many years to find a solution.”

On Motzoei Shabbos, hundreds of residents of southern Israel again protested in Tel Aviv, demanding that the IDF act more aggressively against Hamas. The protesters gathered in Rabin Square and from there marched down Ibn Gvrirol Boulevard, with streets in the area closed to traffic. This was the second week in a row that residents of the area came to Tel Aviv to protest the impending ceasefire agreement, with protesters saying that instead of negotiating with Hamas, Israel should be attacking and destroying it.