Hamas would continue truce talks despite Israel's Rafah evacuation order: Spokesperson

AFP , Monday 6 May 2024

A Hamas spokesman said Monday that the Palestinian resistance group would continue negotiations towards a truce in Gaza, despite Israel's order to begin evacuating people from Rafah in the south ahead of a "limited operation."

Hamas spokesman
File Photo: Hamas spokesman Abdul Latif al-Qanou. Photo courtesy of Quds news.


"We will continue the negotiations positively and with an open heart," Hamas spokesman Abdul Latif al-Qanou told AFP.

He reiterated that an agreement was needed to provide "for a permanent ceasefire and the fulfilment of the demands of our people."

Israel has publicly rejected a permanent ceasefire.

Qanou's comments came after Israel's military early Monday ordered the evacuation of Palestinians from eastern Rafah, ahead of a long-threatened ground invasion of the southern Gaza city, the prospect of which has triggered widespread global alarm.

After the latest round of truce talks in Cairo failed to produce a breakthrough over the weekend, Hamas's delegation headed back to Qatar where its political chief, Ismail Haniyeh, is based.

"The movement's leadership is in a state of internal and factional consultation after the last round of negotiations in Cairo," Qanou said.

Any truce reached in Israel's war on Gaza would be the first since a week-long November ceasefire saw a captive-prisoner swap between Israel and Hamas.

But negotiation efforts have stalled in part because of Hamas's demand for a lasting ceasefire and full withdrawal of Israeli troops.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's vows to continue the ground operations and send troops into Rafah.

Hamas's demand for a full Israeli withdrawal is something "no Israeli government can accept", a statement from Netanyahu's office said, maintaining that "would allow Hamas to militarily control the Strip once again" and prepare for another offensive.

Senior officials of Hamas accused Netanyahu of sabotaging the truce talks out of "personal interests".

Netanyahu's office said, "It is Hamas that sabotages every deal by not budging an inch from its extreme demands."

*This story was edited by Ahram Online.

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