Hamas Ready For 'Complete Agreement' On Hostages If Israel Stops War In Gaza

Israel's military campaign in Gaza has resulted in the deaths of over 36,000 Palestinians and reduced much of the Palestinian territory to rubble.

AP Photo/Ramez Habboub
Smoke rises following an Israeli airstrike on buildings near Rafah, southern Gaza Strip | AP Photo/Ramez Habboub

The Palestinian group Hamas has announced that it is ready to reach a "complete agreement" including a comprehensive hostages/prisoners exchange deal if Israel "stops its war and aggression against people in Gaza," a statement from the group said on Thursday.

In a statement released on Thursday, Hamas said it has informed ceasefire talks mediators - Qatar, Egypt, and the United States - of its readiness to negotiate a complete agreement if Israel stops its the war.

The Hamas statement came as Israel continued with an offensive on Rafah in southern Gaza, despite an order by the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the top United Nations court, to halt its assault.

Hamas claims to have demonstrated flexibility in previous negotiations and that it had entered each round with a “positive” spirit, including the last round when it agreed to a mediator-proposed deal on May 6 – shortly after Israeli forces began the widely criticised ground offensive in Rafah.

“Hamas and the Palestinian factions will not accept to be part of this policy by continuing [ceasefire] negotiations in light of the aggression, siege, starvation and genocide of our people,” the Hamas statement read.

“Today, we informed the mediators of our clear position that if the occupation stops its war and aggression against our people in Gaza, our readiness [is] to reach a complete agreement that includes a comprehensive exchange deal,” it added.

Israel has rejected Hamas' previous demands and is determined to remove Hamas from power in Gaza. Israel says its military operation in Rafah is aimed at rescuing hostages and defeating Hamas fighters. On October 7, Hamas attacked southern Israel, killing over 1,100 people and taking more than 240 hostage. 

In response, Israel launched a military campaign in Gaza, which has resulted in the deaths of over 36,000 Palestinians, according to health officials. The war has reduced much of the Palestinian territory to rubble and displaced the vast majority of residents.

In November, Israel and Hamas held talks, resulting in the release of around 100 hostages in exchange for Palestinians held in Israeli prisons. However, negotiations have largely stalled since then.