January 4, 2024 | Flash Brief

Egypt Proposes Unrealistic Gaza Ceasefire

January 4, 2024 | Flash Brief

Egypt Proposes Unrealistic Gaza Ceasefire

Latest Developments

Cairo is looking to secure a ceasefire in Gaza, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi told a bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers on January 3. “President El-Sisi affirmed that currently the utmost priority is to achieve a ceasefire, protect civilians and ensure unfettered delivery of humanitarian aid” into Gaza, an Egyptian readout of the meeting said.

On December 25, Egypt unsuccessfully proposed a multi-stage ceasefire that would see Hamas release Israeli hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners and Israel’s complete withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. Yet the proposal failed to block Hamas from any role in postwar Gaza, a key Israeli and American demand. Hamas and Islamic Jihad likewise rejected the Egyptian proposal, refusing to negotiate “without a complete stop to the aggression.” Hamas political chief Ismail Haniyeh said on January 2 that the group will not release any hostages until “the resistance’s conditions” are met.

Expert Analysis

“Any permanent solution to this conflict must include the destruction and dismantlement of Hamas. An arrangement that leaves Hamas intact is a victory for the terror regime and sends the wrong message to other Iran-backed terror groups in the region that they can brutally attack Israel and live to fight another day.” — Enia Krivine, Senior Director of FDD’s Israel Program and National Security Network

“The Egyptian proposal violates key principles for what must not come next in Gaza by legitimizing Hamas, embracing a Palestinian Authority in need of reform, providing pathways for Hamas to return to power through elections and ensuring a security collapse through the withdrawal of Israeli forces.” — Richard Goldberg, FDD Senior Advisor

Previous Pause

Hamas released 81 Israeli hostages between November 24 and November 30 as part of an Egyptian- and Qatari-mediated deal that paused fighting in the Gaza Strip. The pause collapsed on December 1 when Hamas refused to provide a list of the remaining women and children in captivity and resumed launching rockets at Israel.

In December, Israel reportedly offered a new seven-day pause in exchange for the release of 40 hostages, increased humanitarian aid into Gaza, and the potential release of more Palestinian prisoners. These prisoners included people incarcerated for more serious offenses than those Israel released during the first pause. Hamas rejected the Israeli proposal on December 20, reportedly refusing to discuss any deal unless Israel permanently ceased its counteroffensive.

No Hamas in Postwar Gaza

Israel and the United States have repeatedly said that Hamas will have no future role in Gaza. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed on December 14 “to fight until Hamas is eliminated,” while President Joe Biden on November 18 denounced “an outcome that leaves Hamas in control of Gaza.” Hamas, however, continues to dig in its heels. Haniyeh said on December 13 that any arrangement for postwar Gaza without Hamas is a “delusion.” He proposed talks for “putting the Palestinian house in order both in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip” to pave a “political path” for Palestinian statehood.

After Hamas is destroyed, here are the five things that must not happen in Gaza,” by Richard Goldberg

Hamas Rejects Israel’s Offer for Second Humanitarian Pause,” FDD Flash Brief

Palestinian Leaders Maker Offers in English, Threats in Arabic,” FDD Flash Brief


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