Close this search box.
Close this search box.

Hamas Official Firm: Truce Incomplete Without Full Gaza War Resolution

Senior Hamas figure gives an interview

In the Palestinian Territories, a senior Hamas figure asserted on Saturday that the group would not entertain any ceasefire proposal that did not comprehensively resolve the Gaza conflict, laying blame on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for obstructing potential agreements.

Mediators from Qatar, Egypt, and the United States convened with a Hamas delegation in Cairo on Saturday in a renewed effort to quell the nearly seven-month-long conflict, which has sparked global demonstrations.

They convened to elicit the militant faction’s reaction to a plan suggesting a 40-day cessation of hostilities in exchange for the release of hostages held by both sides, as disclosed by British sources.

However, a senior Hamas representative reiterated on Saturday night that the group categorically rejected any ceasefire that did not explicitly entail a comprehensive resolution to the conflict, including Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza.

The unnamed official criticized Israeli endeavors to negotiate hostage releases without tying them to an end to hostilities in Gaza, accusing Netanyahu of obstructing peace talks due to personal motivations.

Previously, a senior Israeli official had accused Hamas of impeding the possibility of reaching an accord by insisting on a complete cessation of hostilities.

Despite protracted shuttle diplomacy, mediators have thus far been unable to broker a new ceasefire akin to the one-week truce last November, which saw 105 hostages, including Israelis, released in exchange for Palestinians detained by Israel.

Earlier negotiations stalled partly due to Hamas’s insistence on a lasting ceasefire and Netanyahu’s repeated pledges to eliminate the remaining Hamas fighters in Rafah, a city inundated with displaced civilians.

Israel has refrained from dispatching a delegation to Cairo thus far. An Israeli official informed AFP that this step would only be taken if there were positive developments regarding the proposed framework.

The official added that arduous and protracted negotiations were anticipated for a tangible agreement.

A Hamas insider close to the talks revealed to AFP that discussions would resume on Sunday.

Further Losses

The conflict erupted after Hamas launched an unprecedented assault on Israel on October 7, resulting in over 1,170 casualties, predominantly civilians, according to Israeli authorities.

In retaliation, Israel’s offensive against Hamas has claimed the lives of at least 34,654 individuals in Gaza, predominantly women and children, according to the health ministry of the Hamas-controlled territory.

Reports from Gaza’s civil defense agency and hospitals indicate additional casualties from Israeli strikes in Rafah and surrounding areas.

The United Nations estimates that over 70 percent of Gaza’s residential structures have been either completely or partially destroyed, necessitating reconstruction efforts unseen since the aftermath of World War II.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken remarked on Friday that Hamas should readily embrace a ceasefire agreement with Israel, given that they are the primary obstacle to a cessation of hostilities.

Concerns Mount

The possibility of an assault on Rafah has raised deepening international apprehensions.

The senior Hamas official emphasized that Israel would shoulder full responsibility for its insistence on entering Rafah rather than halting its aggression.

The World Health Organization reports that 1.2 million people, constituting half of Gaza’s population, have sought refuge in Rafah.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus cautioned on Friday that a full-scale military operation in Rafah could precipitate a humanitarian catastrophe.

A UN humanitarian office spokesperson cautioned that an assault on Rafah could deal a devastating blow to aid agencies already grappling to provide assistance.

Escalation Elsewhere

The conflict in Gaza has also catalyzed a surge in violence in the already tumultuous occupied West Bank. Israeli forces disclosed on Saturday that they had eliminated five Palestinian “terrorists” during a 12-hour siege near Tulkarem.

Since October 7, at least 496 Palestinians have perished in the territory at the hands of Israeli troops or settlers, according to AFP’s tally.

Progress in Talks?

Al-Qahera News, associated with Egyptian intelligence, cited an unidentified senior source affirming significant headway in the negotiations, suggesting that mediators had arrived at a consensus on most contentious issues.

However, the senior Hamas official conveyed that discussions had concluded for the day on Saturday due to the absence of any substantive developments.

An Israeli official, speaking anonymously, asserted that Israel’s participation in negotiations led by Mossad’s intelligence chief, David Barnea, would signal progress.

The prolonged captivity of Israeli hostages in Gaza has fueled mounting political tensions, with demonstrators in Israel accusing Netanyahu of prolonging the conflict.

Protesters have regularly taken to the streets, demanding that the government secure the release of the hostages, with thousands rallying in Tel Aviv on Saturday.

“The sanctity of life outweighs the sanctity of war,” chanted the protesters.

According to the Israeli government, 132 hostages remain in Gaza, including 35 presumed dead.

Notable Events

US President Joe Biden is facing mounting domestic pressure to compel Netanyahu’s government to make more concessions regarding its conduct of the conflict.

A letter signed by 88 Democratic congressmen urged Biden to consider halting arms sales to Israel unless there was a change in its behavior towards Palestinian civilians.

At the urging of the United States, Israel has facilitated increased aid deliveries to Gaza in recent days. However, UN agencies assert that this has not averted an impending famine.

Cindy McCain, head of the World Food Programme, disclosed in an interview published on Friday that a full-blown famine was already underway in northern Gaza, with its effects spreading southward.

In a rare respite from the daily struggle for survival, scores of Palestinians gathered for a mass wedding in Khan Yunis on Friday, symbolizing hope amid adversity. The grooms, one of them using crutches, donned coordinated dark suits over white shirts.

Despite this, the specter of conflict looms large. The Israeli military reported striking a munitions depot in the Khan Yunis vicinity on Friday following a projectile launch towards Israel.”


More Posts

Send Us A Message