Details Emerge – Inside the Three-Stage Plan for Ceasefire Agreement

Palestinian prisoners released following the deal between Israel and the Palestinian Resistance. (Photo: C. Wajah Bani Moufleh, via Eye on Palestine)

A copy of a document outlining the basic principles of a prisoner exchange and ceasefire deal between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Resistance movement Hamas was obtained by Al-Jazeera on Sunday. 

The document, which was referenced by US President Joe Biden in his May 31 speech, reportedly proposes a three-stage process to end Israel’s genocidal war on Gaza.

According to Al-Jazeera, it aims to release all Israeli captives who are currently held in Gaza, whether civilian or military, alive or deceased, in exchange for a specified number of Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons. 

The ultimate goal is to establish a permanent ceasefire, withdraw Israeli forces from Gaza, reconstruct the region, and reopen border crossings to facilitate the movement of people and goods, the report noted.

The plan is reportedly divided into three stages, each lasting six weeks, 42 days. 

It details the timeline for releasing Israeli detainees and achieving “sustainable calm”, leading to a permanent ceasefire.

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First Stage

This stage reportedly includes:

– A temporary halt to military operations by both sides, with Israeli forces withdrawing to the border areas, including the Gaza Valley – Netzarim axis and Kuwait roundabout).

– Daily suspension of aerial operations in Gaza for ten hours, extending to 12 hours on days of detainee exchanges.

– Return of displaced persons to their homes, with a partial Israeli withdrawal from Al-Rashid Street to Salah Al-Din Street starting on the seventh day after the resistance releases seven female detainees.

– Withdrawal from the Gaza Strip’s center (Netzarim axis and Kuwait Roundabout) by the 22nd day, positioning Israeli forces east of Salah al-Din Road along the border.

– Humanitarian aid, including 600 trucks per day – including 50 fuel trucks and 300 trucks for the north – will be allowed in from day one, along with necessary supplies to operate essential services and clear rubble.

– Indirect negotiations for the second phase will begin on the 16th day, focusing on the exchange of remaining Israeli prisoners in Gaza.

During this stage, Israeli detainees, including the wounded, elderly, and women, will be released in exchange for Palestinian prisoners. The document specifies the numbers and procedures for these exchanges, which depend on both sides adhering to the agreement’s terms, including the cessation of military operations, withdrawal of forces, return of displaced persons, and entry of humanitarian aid.

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Released Palestinian prisoners will not be re-arrested on the same charges, nor will they be required to serve remaining sentences or sign any release conditions. By the 16th day, indirect discussions about the second phase’s terms, including further detainee exchanges, will commence, aiming to reach an agreement by the end of the fifth week.

The United Nations and other organizations will provide humanitarian services throughout Gaza during all agreement phases. 

Infrastructure rehabilitation for electricity, water, sewage, communications, and roads will begin, along with necessary equipment for civil defense and rubble removal. 

Supplies for sheltering internally displaced persons, including at least 60,000 temporary homes and 200,000 tents, will be facilitated.

After all female Israeli soldiers are released, an agreed number of wounded soldiers will be allowed to seek medical treatment through the Rafah crossing. 

Restrictions on travel and trade will be lifted, and comprehensive reconstruction plans for homes and civilian infrastructure will be initiated under international supervision.

All procedures from this stage, including the temporary cessation of military operations, aid provision, and force withdrawal, will continue into the second phase while discussions on its implementation proceed. 

The guarantors of the agreement will strive to ensure these indirect discussions lead to an agreement on the second phase’s conditions.

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Second Stage

During this stage, the following actions will take place, according to the document:

– Declare the restoration of sustainable calm, marking the permanent cessation of military and hostile operations, before the exchange of detainees and prisoners begins.

– Release all remaining surviving Israeli male detainees, both civilians and soldiers, in exchange for a number of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons and detention centers.

– Complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Gaza Strip.

Third Stage

During this stage, the following actions will take place, according to the document:

– Exchange all body parts and remains of the deceased from both sides after identification.

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– Begin the Gaza Strip reconstruction plan, lasting 3 to 5 years, covering homes, civilian facilities, and infrastructure. This process will be supervised by countries and organizations, including Egypt, Qatar, and the United Nations.

– Open border crossings to facilitate the movement of residents and transportation of goods.

The guarantors of this agreement are Qatar, Egypt, and the United States of America.

Notably, the Document of Principles does not explicitly mention lifting the siege on the Gaza Strip. Instead, it refers to “opening border crossings and facilitating the movement of people and the transport of goods.”


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