Ceasefire Talks Hit Roadblock as Israel and Hamas Remain Firm

A meeting in Cairo on a proposed truce linked to the release of hostages in the Gaza Strip ended today without progress, as Israel and Hamas remain intransigent after seven months of war

by Sededin Dedovic
SHARE
Ceasefire Talks Hit Roadblock as Israel and Hamas Remain Firm
© Abid Katib / Getty Images

A meeting in Cairo on a proposed ceasefire linked to the release of hostages in the Gaza Strip ended today without progress, as Israel and Hamas remain uncompromising after seven months of fighting. However, talks must continue in Qatar, the mediator country, where the head of the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) William Burns is expected, while a delegation of Hamas is expected to return to Cairo on Tuesday, according to Egyptian media.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed today that Israel "will not capitulate" to Hamas and that it cannot "acquiesce" to the demands of the Islamist movement, which calls for a definitive cease-fire in the Palestinian territory before any agreement, especially regarding the release of its hostages kidnapped on October 7 in Israel.

Netanyahu continues to threaten to launch an offensive on the overcrowded town of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, "with or without" a ceasefire agreement. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, who is in Qatar, accused Netanyahu of "sabotaging the efforts of the mediators" to reach a ceasefire, as talks that began on Saturday continued today in Cairo between a delegation of Hamas and Egyptian representatives, in the absence of Israel.

The Palestinian delegation, which left Cairo tonight for consultations in Doha, according to Hamas officials, must return to Egypt on Tuesday "to complete negotiations", sources close to Egyptian mediators said. According to US media reports, the CIA director went to Qatar after staying in Cairo.

A proposal by mediators Qatar, Egypt and the United States, presented to Hamas in late April, calls for a ceasefire in connection with the release of hostages held in the Gaza Strip in exchange for Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

A Hamas official said today that the movement "will not under any circumstances accept an agreement that does not explicitly provide for an end to the war." The Israeli Prime Minister announced today that his government has decided to close the office of the Qatari channel Al-Jazeera in Israel.

Shortly thereafter, the channel's signal was interrupted.

Israeli soldiers rest near an artillery unit near the border with the southern part of the Gaza Strip on May 2, 2024 in Southern© Amir Levy / Getty Images

Al-Jazeera, which covers the war in Gaza extensively, condemned the decision as "criminal" and Hamas as a "blatant violation of media freedom".

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced today that his country will not accept the end of the military campaign and the withdrawal of troops from the Gaza Strip, as rumors spread about international pressure on the Jewish state to end the war under a deal to release hostages.

"Israel cannot accept this. We cannot be prepared to accept a situation in which Hamas battalions come out of their bunkers, retake Gaza, rebuild the military infrastructure and return to threatening Israeli citizens in the surrounding communities, in the southern cities and in all parts of the country," he said.

Netanyahu in a video statement. The Israeli leader added that Israel will not accept Hamas's demands of surrender and will continue fighting until its goals are met. He repeated the message he had conveyed since the beginning of the war, Israeli media commented.

Netanyahu assessed that accepting Hamas' demands would only bring the next conflict closer and allow Hamas to carry out another massacre in the future. Senior officials from the United States, Qatar and Egypt are in Cairo to discuss an agreement to end the war and release Israeli hostages.

Hamas officials are also present. Netanyahu decided not to send a delegation at this stage of the negotiations. Ceasefire talks are now underway in Cairo for a second day, with Palestinian officials saying there has been no clear progress and that Hamas is not backing down from its demands for any agreement to end the war.

A Palestinian official told Reuters that a Hamas delegation had arrived in the Egyptian capital with the aim of reaching an agreement, but not at any cost. Palestinian leader of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, accused Israel today of sabotaging the efforts of mediators to reach a truce in the Gaza Strip and exchange hostages for Palestinians held in Israeli prisons.

Haniyeh said in a press release that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to "invent constant pretexts to continue aggression, prolong the conflict and sabotage the efforts of various mediators and parties," according to Agence France-Presse.

He said Hamas was ready to reach a comprehensive ceasefire to end Israeli aggression and guarantee Israel's withdrawal from Gaza. The Israeli Prime Minister announced earlier today that his country will not accept a complete end to the war and the withdrawal of troops from the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli leader added that Israel will not accept the demands of Hamas, which in his opinion constitute surrender, and will continue to fight until its goals are achieved.

SHARE