Hamas & Tel Aviv exchange blame over stalled truce talks as Israel continues genocide in Gaza

AFP , Ahram Online , Sunday 14 Apr 2024

Israel and Hamas have accused each other of undermining negotiations for a truce in Gaza and a captive release deal, although the talks have not collapsed.

EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / Palestinians carry the bodies of victims from one family killed in overnight Israeli bombardment on the Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza on the first day of the Eid al-Fitr festival marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan, ahead of their funeral at the al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir el-Balah on April 10, 2024. AFP


On Saturday, Hamas announced that it had delivered its response to the latest ceasefire proposal.

Without explicitly rejecting the draft deal, Hamas reiterated its long-standing demands for a permanent ceasefire and the full withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Gaza Strip, which Israeli officials have repeatedly opposed.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has instead reiterated his determination to launch a ground invasion of Rafah, where around 1.5 million Gazans are sheltering from Israeli aggression.

On Saturday, Netanyahu claimed that Hamas was the "only obstacle" to a deal that would free the captives still held in Gaza.

"The cabinet and the security forces are united in their opposition to these unfounded demands," he said, claiming that Hamas "has refused any deal and any compromise proposal".

On Sunday, Israel's Mossad spy agency said in a statement released by Netanyahu's office that Hamas had rejected the proposal, adding it "proves" that Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar "does not want a humanitarian deal and the return of the hostages".

Sinwar was "continuing to exploit the tension with Iran", Mossad said, and was aiming for "a general escalation in the region".

Mossad said Israel would "continue to work to achieve the objectives of the war against Hamas with all its might, and will turn every stone to bring back the hostages from Gaza".

Despite the apparent gulf between the two sides, the talks, mediated by Egypt, the United States and Qatar, are ongoing in the Egyptian capital.

"The negotiations are not at a standstill" but the mediators will have to go back to the drawing board, said Hasni Abidi of CERMAM, a Geneva-based think tank specialising in the Mediterranean and the Arab world.

A framework being circulated in Cairo would halt fighting for six weeks and see the exchange of about 40 captives for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, as well as more aid deliveries into the besieged Gaza Strip.

A Hamas source told AFP that, ultimately, later stages of the ceasefire would see all captives released, Israel withdrawing all its forces from Gaza, the lifting of the siege and the reconstruction of the territory.

However, every attempt to negotiate a durable ceasefire in the six-month-long war has failed.

In November, a seven-day truce enabled the exchange of 80 captives for 240 Palestinian prisoners, as well as 25 captives freed outside of the truce mechanism.

Israel withdrew most of its troops from the Gaza Strip on the six-month anniversary of the war, leaving only a single brigade in central Gaza, while continuing to launch air strikes and bombardments.

Israel has killed at least 33,729 Palestinians in Gaza since the start of its genocidal war on the Strip on 7 October.

The toll includes 76,371 wounded people since the war began and at least 43 deaths over the past 24 hours, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

Short link: