Hamas, Israel Say No Progress Made in Ceasefire Talks

Hamas officials say Israel's latest proposal didn't address key demands, which include a permanent ceasefire

Both Hamas officials and Israeli officials said on Monday that no progress was made toward a hostage deal in Egyptian and Qatari-mediated ceasefire negotiations that are taking place in Cairo.

Ali Barakam, a senior Hamas official based in Lebanon, said the Palestinian group had rejected the latest proposal from Israel. “We reject the latest Israeli proposals that the Egyptian side informed us of. The politburo met today and decided this,” he told Reuters.

Another unnamed Hamas official said Israel had not changed its position. “There is no change in the position of the occupation (Israel), and therefore, there is nothing new in the Cairo talks,” the official said.

An Israeli official told Ynet that they “still don’t see a deal on the horizon” and that the two sides are still far apart.

A Hamas official told CNN that Israel’s latest proposal did not address Hamas’s key demands, which include a permanent ceasefire and Israeli withdrawal. “The [Israeli] proposal does not respond to the questions that [Hamas] has asked in its original proposal, and that is that any agreement should clearly include a ceasefire, a complete withdrawal of [Israeli] troops – even if it happens through stages – and the return of the displaced in complete freedom to their homes,” the official said.

The CNN report said CIA Director William Burns had presented a deal to bridge the gaps between the two sides. The proposal involves the release of 40 Israeli hostages in exchange for about 900 Palestinian prisoners. The US would also like Israel to allow Palestinians who fled from northern Gaza to be able to return to the north.

Pressure is mounting on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to reach a hostage deal, and Israeli officials have accused him of intentionally sabotaging the talks. Haaretz recently reported that Israeli intelligence believes only 60-70 hostages in Gaza are still alive.

Netanyahu has made clear that any ceasefire he agrees to would only be temporary as he is vowing to launch an invasion of Rafah and said Monday that he set a date to attack the city.

Former Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid, who leads the main opposition party in the Knesset, called for a hostage deal during a visit to Washington on Monday. “A hostage deal is doable. It is a difficult deal, this is a deal we may not like, but it’s doable and therefore needs to be made,” he said after meeting with Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Author: Dave DeCamp

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