Hamas Issues Counter-Proposal Hostage And Ceasefire Deal, Netanyahu Says Deal Is ‘Absurd’

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) and Minister of Finance Bezalel Smotrich attend the weekly cabinet meeting at the Defence Ministry in Tel Aviv on January 7, 2024. (Photo by RONEN ZVULUN / POOL / AFP) (Photo by RONEN ZVULUN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

OAN’s Brooke Mallory
1:00 PM – Friday, March 15, 2024

In continuing negotiations over a temporary truce and hostage agreement in its conflict with Israel, Hamas has presented a formal counterproposal, raising hopes for the first time in weeks that more Israelis kidnapped on October 7th may be freed and that hostilities may end.


However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asserted that the terror group was making “ridiculous demands” during a meeting with the families of roughly 20 captives on Thursday night, raising doubts about whether the negotiations would move forward.

“For the first time, we can envision embracing them again,” said the Hostages and Missing Families Forum, a group created to lobby for the captives. “Please grant us this right.”

Following weeks of contentious negotiations during which both Israeli and Hamas leaders voiced pessimism about finding a common ground, the counter-proposal was made.

The conditions that Hamas has set forth call for the release of hundreds of Palestinian security prisoners in Israeli jails, including 100 who have been found guilty of murder or multiple murders, in exchange for the release of innocent hostages, which include women, children, the elderly, and the sick.

According to the proposal, Israel would have to agree to a long-term ceasefire, evacuate Gaza, and free all of the Palestinian security prisoners it is holding in order to free the remaining male hostages, whom Hamas views as “freedom fighters,” regardless of whether they were taken while serving in the armed forces.

At a meeting of his war cabinet on Friday, Netanyahu rejected the parameters, calling them “still absurd.” In addition, he declared that the Israeli army will keep getting ready for an impending invasion of Rafah, a city in southern Gaza that has become a haven for about 1.5 million Palestinians. However, according to Israeli officials, many of whom are Hamas leaders and members.

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