Israeli Officials Deny Reports of Progress in Hostage Negotiations With Hamas

An Egyptian official told AP that Hamas rejected Israel's offer for a 2-month truce since the group wants a permanent Israeli withdrawal

Several media reports have said that Israel and Hamas were making progress in Qatari and Egyptian-mediated talks on a hostage deal, but Israeli officials are denying that’s the case.

“Reports of an agreement in principle to a ceasefire are not correct. There are very large gaps, and there is no advancement in talks,” an Israeli official told Ynet on Wednesday. According to The Times of Israel, several other Israeli news outlets quoted Israeli officials who called the reports of breakthroughs in talks “fake.”

The Israeli official speaking to Ynet accused Hamas of “hardening its position.” According to an Egyptian official speaking to The Associated Press, Hamas rejected an Israeli proposal for a two-month ceasefire in exchange for the release of all hostages because it wants a permanent Israeli withdrawal from Gaza.

Some reports indicate the two sides are considering a deal for a month-long truce and the release of some, but not all, of the Israeli hostages in exchange for the release of Palestinian prisoners. But an Israeli official told AP there is still a “long road ahead.”

Also on Wednesday, Qatar sharply rebuked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for comments he made about the Arab nation. “You don’t hear me thanking Qatar… it is because in many ways it is more problematic [than the UN and Red Cross],” Netanyahu told family members of Israeli hostages, according to a recording released by Israel’s Channel 12.

Netanyahu also said he got “very angry recently with the Americans” for renewing a deal to extend the US military presence at a base in Qatar for another 10 years, something Netanyahu claimed could have been used as leverage to pressure Hamas.

Majed al-Ansari, spokesman for Qatar’s Foreign Ministry, said Doha was “appalled” by the comments and that they hurt the hostage negotiations. “If the reported remarks are found to be true, the Israeli PM would only be obstructing and undermining the mediation process, for reasons that appear to serve his political career instead of prioritizing saving innocent lives, including Israeli hostages,” al-Ansari said.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.