Officials Describe Pact Hamas Has Embraced as U.S.-Israel Proposal With Small Changes

The proposal for a hostage-prisoner exchange and cease-fire that Hamas said on Monday that it could accept has minor wording changes from the one that Israel and the United States had presented to the group recently, according to two officials familiar with the revised proposal.

The officials said that the changes were made by Arab mediators in consultation with William J. Burns, the C.I.A. director, and that the new version keeps a key phrase, the eventual enactment of a “sustainable calm,” wording that all sides had said earlier they could accept.

The two officials said the response from Hamas was a serious one, and that it was now up to Israel to decide whether to enter into an agreement. The proposal, they said, calls for Hamas to free hostages — women, the elderly and those in need of medical treatment — in return for a 42-day cease-fire and the release of a much larger number of Palestinian prisoners. Israel had sought 33 hostages, but it is not clear how many women and elderly are still alive, and the first tranche could end up including remains.

That would be the first of three phases of reciprocal actions from each side. In the second phase, the two sides would work toward reaching a “sustainable calm,” which would involve the release of more hostages, the officials said. Both officials acknowledged that the warring parties would likely clash over the definition of “sustainable calm.”

One of the officials, in the Middle East, said that Hamas viewed the term as an end to the war, with Israel halting its military actions and withdrawing troops from Gaza. The officials said that Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was expected to push back against that definition.

One official said that the negotiating parties agreed to the term “sustainable calm” weeks ago, after Israel objected to any reference to a “permanent cease-fire.” Israeli officials have consistently said they oppose any agreement that explicitly calls for that or for an end to the war.

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