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Israel studies Egypt-sponsored peace proposal as PM vows to 'fight on' in Gaza

Palestinians salvage belongings in the aftermath of an Israeli strike in Rafah in southern Gaza Strip on Sunday. Israel officials said they are studying an Egyptian-sponsored peace proposal aimed a providing a long-term settlement of the war in Gaza. Photo by Ismael Mohamad/UPI
Palestinians salvage belongings in the aftermath of an Israeli strike in Rafah in southern Gaza Strip on Sunday. Israel officials said they are studying an Egyptian-sponsored peace proposal aimed a providing a long-term settlement of the war in Gaza. Photo by Ismael Mohamad/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 25 (UPI) -- Israel on Monday is examining an Egyptian proposal for a far-reaching peace plan seeking a long-term settlement to the war in Gaza even as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to intensify the fighting.

Hebrew language news sources cited by the Times of Israel indicated Israeli officials have received the Egyptian proposal and are studying it. Some of the unnamed officials said they are not rejecting the initial draft out-of-hand and expressed some hope it could lead to further negotiations.

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The proposal comes after Netanyahu on Sunday issued a statement declaring Israel is intensifying the war against Hamas militants in Gaza Strip and vowed to "fight until absolute victory" over the enclave's Palestinian rulers.

"This will take time, but we are united -- the soldiers, the people and the government. We are united and determined to fight until the end," the prime minister said in a video statement.

"The war has a price, a very heavy price in the lives of our heroic soldiers, and we will do everything to safeguard the lives of our soldiers," he said. "However, there is one thing we will not do: We will not stop until we achieve victory."

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Gaza health officials said 250 Palestinians died and 500 more were injured in fighting on Sunday, making it one of the deadliest single days since the start of the conflict on Oct. 7. Overall, more than 20,600 Palestinians have died in the war, they said.

The Egyptian peace plan is being brokered by Qatar and includes three stages, according to the Arabic newspaper Asharq Al Awsat. The first stage would be an immediate humanitarian truce in which Hamas would release all civilian captives in exchange for Palestinian prisoners, followed by a "massive introduction of aid" into the Gaza Strip and the redeployment of Israeli forces away from residential communities.

Subsequent stages would reportedly include Egyptian-sponsored talks between rival Palestinian factions Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, dominated by the Fatah faction. A reconciliation between the groups could pave the way for a new Palestinian government for both the West Bank and Gaza.

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The final phase would encompass a comprehensive cease-fire, return of all prisoners and Israeli withdrawal from cities in the northern Gaza Strip, after which displaced Gazans could return to their homes.

Scenes from Gaza: 75th day of bombing in Israel-Hamas war

Palestinians inspect a destroyed house and vehicle after Israeli airstrikes on residential houses in the Al-Shaboura refugee camp in Rafah, the southern Gaza Strip, on December 20, 2023. Photo by Ismael Mohamad/UPI | License Photo

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