Hamas says amendments it proposed to the most recent U.S. plan for a cease-fire in Gaza “have been met with a positive response by the mediators.” However, “the official Israeli position has not yet become clear,” and no date for negotiations has been set, Hamas spokesperson Jihad Taha said Friday.

Cease-fire talks between Israel and Hamas appear to be reviving after having stalled for weeks, as U.S., Qatari and Egyptian mediators try to overcome a gap that has repeatedly thwarted a deal.

Hamas wants an agreement that ensures Israeli troops fully leave Gaza and that the war ends, while Israel says it cannot halt the war before the Palestinian militant group is eliminated. Post-war governance and security control of the enclave have also been contentious issues.

In the occupied West Bank, Palestinian health officials say an Israeli military operation and airstrike killed seven Palestinians on Friday. The Islamic Jihad militant group named four of the dead as its members. Violence has surged throughout the West Bank during nearly nine months of war in Gaza.

Israel launched the war in Gaza after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, in which militants stormed into southern Israel, killed some 1,200 people — mostly civilians — and abducted about 250.

Since then, Israeli ground offensives and bombardments have killed more than 38,000 people in Gaza, according to the territory’s Health Ministry, which does not distinguish between combatants and civilians in its count.

The war has caused massive devastation across the besieged territory and displaced most of its 2.3 million people, often multiple times. Israeli restrictions, ongoing fighting and the breakdown of law and order have curtailed humanitarian aid efforts, causing widespread hunger and sparking fears of famine. The top U.N. court has concluded there is a “plausible risk of genocide” in Gaza — a charge Israel strongly denies.


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— Israel weighs Hamas’ latest response to Gaza cease-fire proposal as diplomatic efforts are revived.

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— Fires have become the most visible sign of the conflict heating up on the Lebanon-Israel border.

— Pro-Palestinian protesters breach security at Australia’s Parliament House to unfurl banners

— Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Gaza at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war.

Here’s the latest:

Beirut — A spokesperson for Hamas said Friday that the group’s proposed amendments to the most recent U.S. proposal for a cease-fire in Gaza “have been met with a positive response by the mediators” but “the official Israeli position has not yet become clear.”

“The date of the negotiations has not yet been set and this depends on the response of (Israel),” Hamas spokesperson Jihad Taha said. He said that the position of Hamas on the proposal is “unified” between the group’s military leadership in Gaza and its political leadership outside, without elaborating.

On Wednesday, the Palestinian militant group said it had sent proposed amendments to the mediators, Egypt and Qatar, in response to the latest cease-fire proposal put forward by the U.S.,

U.S. officials have said the first phase in the current proposal would see a “full and complete cease-fire,” a withdrawal of Israeli forces from all densely populated areas of Gaza and the release of a number of hostages, including women, older people and the wounded, in exchange for the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners.

The parties would negotiate the terms of the second phase during the 42 days of phase one. Under the current proposal, Hamas could release all of the remaining men, both civilians and soldiers, during the second phase. In return, Israel could free an agreed-upon number of Palestinian prisoners and detainees. The releases wouldn’t occur until “sustainable calm” takes effect and all Israeli troops withdraw from Gaza. The third phase would see the return of the remains of hostages.

The mechanism for the transition from the first to second phase has been the main sticking point in the negotiations so far. Hamas has insisted on a permanent end to the war, while Israeli officials have said they would not end the war before destroying Hamas’ political and military capabilities.

Post-war governance and security control of the enclave has also been a contentious issue.

Hamas said in a statement Friday that it rejects “plans to bring foreign forces into the (Gaza) Strip under any name or justification” and that administration of Gaza “is a purely Palestinian matter, agreed upon by our Palestinian people in all their diversity.”

The U.S. has previously said that countries like Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey could consider participating in and contributing to “day after” scenarios for the Palestinian territory.

BEIRUT — Hamas officials met with leaders of the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah and another allied armed group Friday, as Israel and Hamas apparently return to the negotiating table for a cease-fire in Gaza and amid fears of an escalation on the Lebanese front.

Hezbollah said in a statement that its leader, Hassan Nasrallah, had met with a delegation headed by Khalil al-Hayya, a high-ranking Hamas official who has represented the Palestinian militants in negotiations for a cease-fire and hostage exchange. It said they had discussed “the latest developments in the negotiations” and “security and political developments” in Gaza and the region. The statement also said they “confirmed the continuation of field and political coordination at all levels in order to achieve the desired goals.”

Also Friday, Hamas said in a statement that its top political leader, Ismail Hanieh, had received Mohammed Takkoush, the head of al-Jamaa al-Islamiya, or the Islamic Group, a Sunni Muslim political and armed group in Lebanon that has been fighting against Israeli forces alongside the Shiite Hezbollah.

The two Lebanese groups have been part of a “support front” that has maintained low-level clashes with Israeli forces with the aim of pulling them away from Gaza to ease the pressure on Hamas. In recent weeks, however, there have been increasing fears of a full-blown war on the Lebanon-Israel front.

JERUSALEM — Palestinian authorities say seven people were killed Friday during an Israeli military operation in the area of the West Bank city of Jenin, where the Israeli military said it had been carrying out “counterterrorism activity” that included an airstrike.

The military said Israeli soldiers had “encircled a building where terrorists have barricaded themselves in” and the soldiers had exchanged fire with those inside, while an airstrike had “struck several armed terrorists” in the area.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said a total of seven people had been killed, but did not specify whether they died in the exchange of fire or the airstrike. The Islamic Jihad militant group named four of the dead as its members.

The clashes in Jenin, a known militant stronghold where the army frequently operates, came a day after an Israeli anti-settlement monitoring group said the government plans to build nearly 5,300 new homes in settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Violence has spiraled in the West Bank since the start of Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza. The Palestinian Health Ministry says over 500 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in the West Bank since the start of the war. Most have been killed during Israeli raids and violent protests. The dead also include bystanders and Palestinians killed in attacks by Jewish settlers.

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