update deskIsrael at War

Hamas rejects ceasefire offer in Cairo

“We have seen them reject a number of proposals before that we have thought would deliver incredible benefits to the Palestinian people that they claim to represent,” a U.S. State Department spokesman said.

Members of Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the "military" wing of the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas, stand guard in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, Dec. 14, 2022. Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90.
Members of Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the "military" wing of the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas, stand guard in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, Dec. 14, 2022. Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90.

Hamas rejected the latest ceasefire proposal on Monday, according to senior officials in the terror organization as reported by multiple news outlets.

“We reject the latest Israeli proposals that the Egyptian side informed us of. The politburo met today and decided this,” Ali Baraka, who is responsible for the Hamas’s foreign relations, told Reuters.

Another Hamas official, Mahmoud Mardawi, told the same to the Quds News Network on Monday.

Earlier on Monday, another Hamas official, whom Reuters didn’t name, told the news agency that “there is no change in the position of the occupation [Israel] and therefore, there is nothing new in the Cairo talks,” and that “there is no progress yet.”

Bill Burns, the CIA director, was in Cairo last weekend to present the offer, which reportedly included the release of additional Palestinian prisoners, whom Israel holds, in exchange for Hamas releasing 40 hostages and a three-stage ceasefire.

Hamas has repeatedly rejected previous ceasefire proposals, demanding a complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza and unrestricted movement of Palestinians from south Gaza to the northern part of the Strip.

The news of Hamas’s rejection of the deal broke as Matthew Miller, the U.S. State Department spokesman, conducted a press briefing. Citing his policy of not commenting on news that comes to light during a briefing, Miller declined to comment on the latest Hamas rejection. But he said such a decision would be in line with its previous behavior.

“We have seen them reject a number of proposals before, that we have thought would deliver incredible benefits to the Palestinian people that they claim to represent,” he said. “Most notably cessation of hostilities, but also conditions on the ground that would allow the delivery of much, much more humanitarian assistance.”

Pro-Israel Congressman Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.) said that the rejection is a sign that Hamas and its military leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar feel empowered.

“The hyperbolic and hysterical demonization of Israel—from fair-weather friends—makes Hamas feel emboldened to continue rejecting ceasefires and continue holding the hostages captive,” Torres wrote. “Sinwar feels like he is winning.”

Earlier on Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he was briefed on the talks in Cairo and that a date is set for the launch of a ground operation into Rafah.

Miller told reporters that the United States has not been briefed on that date and continues to oppose a full-scale military operation in talks with Israeli counterparts.

“There will be further conversations over the coming days, coming weeks, where we can continue to lay out our beliefs about this potential operation and how they can achieve it in a better way,” Miller said.

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