US presses Hamas to accept new proposal for Gaza cease-fire

Apr 29, 2024, 3:30 PM | Updated: 3:39 pm

antony blinken, he is Blinken pressing Hamas to accept new proposal for Gaza cease-fire...

FILE - Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a meeting with human rights leaders at the State Department, Thursday, Dec. 7, 2023 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

CAIRO (AP) — The United States stepped up pressure for a cease-fire deal in Gaza on Monday as the secretary of state said a new proposal had been put to Hamas, whose officials were in Cairo talking to Egyptian mediators. Israeli airstrikes killed 26 people in Gaza’s southernmost town of Rafah, according to hospital records.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, ahead of a visit to Israel this week, urged Hamas to accept the latest proposal, calling it “extraordinarily generous” on Israel’s part.

The terms were not made public. But according to an Egyptian official and Israeli media, Israel has softened its position, lowering the number of hostages it demands that Hamas free during the initial six-week phase of the cease-fire in return for the release of hundreds of Palestinians from Israeli prisons.

One question is whether that will be enough to overcome Hamas concerns over the cease-fire’s second phase.

Hamas has demanded assurances that an eventual release of all hostages will bring a complete end to Israel’s nearly seven-month assault in Gaza and a withdrawal of its troops from the devastated territory. Israel has offered only an extended pause, vowing to resume its offensive once it is over. The issue has repeatedly obstructed efforts by U.S., Egyptian and Qatari mediators during months of talks.

Some Israeli commentators depicted Israel as at a crossroads: Go for a deal with a potential end to the war, bringing benefits that could include normalization of ties with Saudi Arabia, or push ahead with plans including an attack on Rafah in the hope of crushing Hamas and risk international isolation.

Israel’s closest ally, the United States, and others have repeatedly warned against an offensive on Rafah, saying it would bring a surge in casualties and worsen a humanitarian catastrophe. More than 1 million Palestinians have sought shelter in Rafah after fleeing fighting elsewhere.

Israel’s offensive in Gaza has killed more than 34,000 people.

Overnight and Monday morning, Israeli strikes flattened at least three homes where extended families of Palestinians were gathered. The dead included nine women and six children, one them just five days old, according to hospital records and an Associated Press reporter.

“Everyone was sleeping in their beds,” said Mahmoud Abu Taha, whose cousin was killed with his wife and their year-old baby in a house where at least 10 died. “They have nothing to do with anything.”

Egypt has stepped up mediation efforts for a cease-fire deal in hopes of averting an assault on Rafah, on Gaza’s border with Egypt.

An Egyptian official said Israel has lowered the number of hostages it wants freed in the first stage, down from earlier demands for 40. He did not specify the new number. Israeli media said it now seeks the release of 33 hostages in return for the release of some 900 Palestinian prisoners. Hamas is believed to hold around 100 Israelis in Gaza.

Israel has also shown flexibility on allowing residents to return to northern Gaza, the Egyptian official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the internal talks.

There was no immediate comment from Hamas or Israeli officials.

Netanyahu has repeatedly rejected stopping the war in return for hostage releases and says an offensive on Rafah is crucial to destroying the militants after their Oct. 7 attacks on Israel that triggered the fighting. His government could be threatened if he agrees to a deal, since hardline Cabinet members demand an attack on Rafah.

At the same time, Netanyahu faces pressure to reach a deal from families of hostages.

On Monday, the families of two hostages — Keith Siegel and Omri Miran — urged both sides to reach an agreement, days after Hamas released a video showing the men.

“I appeal to Sinwar, please approve this deal. And to the members of the (Israeli) Cabinet, please approve any deal,” said Omri’s father, Dany Miran, referring to Yehiya Sinwar, the top Hamas official in Gaza. He spoke at a news conference in a Tel Aviv square where supporters of hostage families regularly hold rallies.

Israeli officials, meanwhile, appeared increasingly concerned that the International Criminal Court may issue arrest warrants against the country’s leaders.

It was not clear what sparked the concerns. The ICC launched a probe three years ago into possible war crimes committed by Israel and Palestinian militants going back to the 2014 Israel-Hamas war. The probe is also looking at Israel’s construction of settlements in occupied territory the Palestinians want for a future state.

There was no comment from the court on Monday, and it has given no indication warrants in the case are imminent.

But Israel’s Foreign Ministry said late Sunday that it had informed Israeli missions of “rumors” that warrants might be issued against senior political and military officials. Netanyahu said Friday that Israel “will never accept any attempt by the ICC to undermine its inherent right of self-defense.”

Neither Israel nor the United States accept the ICC’s jurisdiction, but any warrants could put Israeli officials at risk of arrest in other countries. They would also serve as a major rebuke of Israel’s actions at a time when pro-Palestinian protests have spread across U.S. college campuses.

The International Court of Justice, a separate body, is investigating whether Israel has committed acts of genocide in the ongoing war in Gaza, with any ruling expected to take years. Israel has rejected allegations of wrongdoing and accused both international courts of bias.

In the Hamas-led attack on Oct. 7, militants stormed through army bases and farming communities across southern Israel, killing some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and taking around 250 hostages. Israel’s air, sea and ground offensive in Gaza has killed at least 34,488 Palestinians, mostly women and children, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry, which does not distinguish between civilians and combatants in its tally.

Israel blames the high civilian death toll on Hamas because the militants fight from dense, residential areas. The military says it has killed over 12,000 militants, without providing evidence.

The war has driven around 80% of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million from their homes and pushed northern Gaza to the brink of famine.


Associated Press writers Michael Corder in The Hague, Netherlands, Ellen Knickmeyer in Washington and Matthew Lee in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, contributed.


Follow AP’s coverage of the war at


We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Israel + Hamas

Thirteen-year-old Ayham Musalm, center, is receiving treatment for a fractured leg and glass shrapn...

Aditi Sangal, CNN

Injured youth from Gaza find care in the US, face uncertain future

At least 1,000 children in Gaza have had one or both legs amputated, UNICEF reported in December. That number has since grown.

16 days ago

President Joe Biden speaks with CNN’s Erin Burnett during an exclusive interview Wednesday, May 8...

Jack Forrest, Andrew Millman and Avery Lotz, CNN

Biden faces bipartisan backlash over Israel ultimatum

Biden is facing backlash from lawmakers over his Israel ultimatum that would result in a shut-off of some US weapons.

17 days ago

President Joe Biden arrives at Chicago O'Hare International Airport to attend a political fundraise...


Biden says US won’t supply weapons for Israel to attack Rafah

Biden said the U.S. was still committed to Israel's defense, but that if Israel goes into Rafah, "we're not going to supply the weapons and artillery shells used."

21 days ago

Smoke rises following an Israeli airstrike east of Rafah, Gaza Strip, Monday, May 6, 2024. (AP Phot...


US pauses bomb shipment to Israel over Rafah invasion concern

The Biden administration paused a bomb shipmant to Israel over concerns that the country might launch full-scale assault on the city of Rafah.

21 days ago

The protests grew after an encampment on the campus of Columbia University in New York City led to ...

Alex Leeds Matthews, Krystina Shveda, Amy O'Kruk and Renée Rigdon, CNN

Map: Where university protesters have been arrested

As pro-Palestinian protests have erupted on college campuses nationwide, protesters continue to be arrested.

23 days ago

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the Conference of Presidents of Major American ...

Michael Schwartz, Tim Lister and Lauren Said-Moorhouse, CNN

Israel closes Al Jazeera news network in the country

Israel has ordered the closure of Al Jazeera in the country, a move the Qatar-based news network called a “criminal act.”

24 days ago

Sponsored Articles

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.


Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

US presses Hamas to accept new proposal for Gaza cease-fire