A senior Hamas official announced on Sunday that Palestinian militants are prepared to engage in discussions about a hostage exchange and the cessation of the Gaza conflict without insisting on a "complete and permanent ceasefire." This shift in Hamas' stance occurs as the United States, Qatar, and Egypt intensify their diplomatic efforts to encourage the adversaries to enter into negotiations aimed at ending nine months of warfare and securing the release of hostages held by Hamas and prisoners detained by Israel.

Previously, Hamas had demanded that Israel agree to a complete and permanent ceasefire, but this condition has been set aside. The mediators have assured that as long as negotiations over prisoners continue, the ceasefire will remain in effect. Israeli officials have previously expressed strong opposition to Hamas' demands for a permanent ceasefire. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has declared the destruction of Hamas and the return of all hostages as the primary objectives of Israel's military campaign, which was initiated following the October 7 attacks.

US President Joe Biden presented a plan on May 31, which he attributed to Israel, promising a roadmap to an enduring ceasefire and the release of all hostages. An Israeli negotiator traveled to Doha for talks with mediators on Friday. Israel acknowledged there are still discrepancies in Hamas' counter-proposals but stated the negotiator would return to Doha this week. A knowledgeable official revealed that CIA Director William Burns is also scheduled to visit Qatar this week. The Hamas official noted that Egypt and Turkey will increase their efforts in the coming days to achieve an agreement. If full negotiations commence, Hamas anticipates they could last between two to three weeks.

Biden explained that Israel's plan proposes an initial six-week truce, involving an Israeli withdrawal from populated areas of the Gaza Strip and the release of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for some hostages captured on October 7. The Hamas official stated that if a ceasefire is initiated, they would request up to 400 trucks of aid to enter the besieged Palestinian territory daily. The conflict began with Hamas' October 7 attack on southern Israel, which resulted in the deaths of 1,195 people, predominantly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli figures. Hamas also seized 251 hostages, according to Israel. Of the 116 hostages still in Gaza, 42 are believed by the Israeli army to be deceased. Israel's retaliatory offensive has claimed the lives of at least 38,153 people, mostly civilians, according to the health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza.