Hamas Says There Will Be No Ceasefire Deal If Israel Continues Rafah Operation

Egyptian officials say all parties have agreed to resume negotiations

Osama Hamdan, a Hamas political official, said on Tuesday that there will be no ceasefire and hostage deal if Israel continues its military operations in Rafah.

“The occupation army’s storming of the Rafah crossing, and its barbaric and criminal bombing, at the insistence of Netanyahu and his extremist warlords, is an open attempt to sabotage all the efforts of the mediators to achieve an agreement to stop the aggression against our people, and at the same time it is a desperate attempt to create an image of an illusion of victory to save face,” he said at a press conference in Beirut.

“If his aggression continues, he will only suffer more defeats and disgrace,” Hamdan said. He also mentioned the Israeli capture of the Rafah border crossing, which cut off aid deliveries, saying the crossing “was and will remain a purely Egyptian-Palestinian crossing.”

Before Israel launched its ground assault into Rafah late Monday, Hamas said that it agreed to a ceasefire proposal from Egyptian and Qatari mediators. But Israeli officials quickly threw cold water on the idea that a deal could be reached and said the proposal included terms Israel had not agreed to.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reaffirmed Israel’s rejection of the deal on Tuesday, saying the proposal was “very far from Israel’s vital demands.” According to media reports, the proposal included working toward a permanent ceasefire and Israeli withdrawal, an idea Netanyahu has repeatedly rejected.

While rejecting the deal, Netanyahu still sent a low-level delegation to Egypt for negotiations. Egyptian media reported that all parties have agreed to “return to the negotiating table.”

CIA Director William Burns had been involved in discussions with Qatari and Egyptian officials before Hamas said it accepted the ceasefire proposal, signaling the US was aware of the contents of the offer. According to Axios, Israeli officials were unhappy with the Biden administration because they thought the US was aware of the proposal and didn’t give Israel a heads up.

Author: Dave DeCamp

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