Hamas has accepted a ceasefire in Gaza. Israel says they can't accept it.

An Israeli official says no ceasefire has been agreed in Gaza, after Hamas said it had accepted a proposal from Egyptian and Qatari mediators.

The Israeli official said the proposal that Hamas had accepted was a "softened" version of an Egyptian proposal, which included "far-reaching" conclusions that Israel could not accept.

"This would appear to be a ruse intended to make Israel look like the side refusing a deal," said the Israeli official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Earlier, Hamas said in a brief statement that its chief, Ismail Haniyeh, had informed Qatari and Egyptian mediators that the group accepted their ceasefire proposal.

Palestinians celebrate in the streets following Hamas's announcement that it accepted a cease-fire proposal. Later on Monday, Israel announced it would move forward with its planned offensive. Image: AP/Abdel Kareem Hana.


News of Hamas' announcement sent people in Rafah cheering in the streets.

Details of the proposal were not immediately released.

But in recent days, Egyptian and Hamas officials have said the ceasefire would take place in a series of stages in which Hamas would release hostages it is holding in exchange for Israeli troop pullbacks from Gaza.

There has been no successful agreement on a ceasefire in Gaza since a week-long pause in the fighting in November.

The Hamas announcement of an agreement came hours after Israel ordered the evacuation of parts of Rafah, the city on Gaza's southern edge that has served as the last sanctuary for about half of Gaza's 2.3 million residents.

There is 'nowhere safe to go' for the 600,000 kids in Rafah.

UNICEF is warning that an invasion of Rafah will pose catastrophic risks to the 600,000 children currently sheltering there. 

It is estimated that about 1.2 million people are camping out in a place once home to only 250,000. 

It means there's about 20,000 people per kilometre - making it twice as densely populated as New York City. 


As UNICEF reports, compared to adults, children are especially vulnerable to the devastating impacts of the war in the Gaza Strip. Already 14,000 kids have been killed and hundreds of thousands are injured, malnourished, traumatised or living with disabilities. Most have been displaced multiple times. 

According to the Global Report on Food Crises released in April, nearly 282 million people in 59 countries suffered from acute hunger in 2023, with war-torn Gaza the territory with the largest number of people facing famine.


All up, the UN are reporting that more than 34,600 people have died in Palestine. Israel says more than 130 hostages remain in Gaza - about a quarter of those are believed to be dead.

Israel strikes Rafah to "exert military pressure". 

Despite the ceasefire talks, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office says his cabinet has approved continuing an operation in Rafah. 

"The war cabinet unanimously decided that Israel continue the operation in Rafah to exert military pressure on Hamas in order to advance the release of our hostages and the other goals of the war," the statement said. 

Israel said on Monday it was conducting limited operations on the eastern part of Rafah. The was being accompanied by massive air strikes, according to Palestinian residents.


"They have been firing since last night and today after the evacuation orders, the bombardment became more intense because they want to frighten us to leave," Jaber Abu Nazly, a 40-year-old father of two, told Reuters via a chat app.

"Others are wondering whether there is any place safe in the whole of Gaza," he added.

A US official familiar with truce negotiations told Reuters that Netanyahu and the war cabinet "have not appeared to approach the latest phase of negotiations in good faith".

US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said Washington would discuss the Hamas response with its allies in the coming hours, and a deal was "absolutely achievable".

"We want to get these hostages out, we want to get a ceasefire in place for six weeks, we want to increase humanitarian assistance," White House national security spokesperson John Kirby said, adding that reaching an agreement would be the "absolute best outcome".

With AAP

Feature image: AP Photo/Fatima Shbair.