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Hamas said to be ignoring Israeli hostage proposal

Hamas leadership won't accept any proposals that don't include a ceasefire as a "good faith gesture," according to the Al-Araby Al Jadeed newspaper.

Members of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad release Israeli hostages to the Red Cross in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, Nov. 28, 2023. Photo by Flash90.
Members of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad release Israeli hostages to the Red Cross in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, Nov. 28, 2023. Photo by Flash90.

Hamas has ignored feelers put out by Israel to restart negotiations for a prisoner exchange, the London-based newspaper Al-Araby Al Jadeed, or The New Arab, reported on Tuesday.

“The leadership of the Hamas movement refused to respond to a proposal put forward by Tel Aviv regarding the possibility of completing a prisoner exchange deal that includes female soldiers and some elderly people as a first stage, followed by other stages,” an unnamed Egyptian source told the Qatari-owned Arabic language paper.

Hamas leadership won’t accept any proposals that don’t include a ceasefire as a “good faith gesture,” the Egyptian source added.

Israel’s offer included the release of prominent Hamas prisoners who had been in jail for long periods, said the source, who according to the paper was briefed on recent meetings between Egyptian officials and Hamas terror representatives in Doha.

However, Hamas views the offer with suspicion, seeing it as an Israeli tactic to sow division among the various terror groups operating in Gaza, and so insists that “any future negotiations will not be limited to leadership prisoners from Hamas, but will include the leaders of all Palestinian resistance factions,” the source said.

The involvement of CIA Director William Burns is a sign that the United States and Israel are eager for a deal and that the Biden administration “believes that it is possible to reach a new agreement similar to the previous agreement, if Egypt and Qatar exert pressure,” he added.

Mossad Director David Barnea met in Warsaw on Monday with Qatar’s prime minister and Burns to discuss renewing negotiations for the release of hostages.

Barnea also met with Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani in Europe on Friday night to prepare the ground for renewed talks.

It was the first time Israeli and Qatari officials had met since Hamas broke a weeklong ceasefire last month when it refused to hand over the last group of female hostages, plus two children, as part of an agreed-upon deal, The Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday.

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