update deskIsrael at War

US: Hamas obstacle to hostage deal, despite ‘significant’ Israeli effort

"There was a deal on the table that would achieve much of what Hamas claims it wants to achieve, and they have not taken that deal," the U.S. State Department said.

A man posts photographs of the Israelis still being held captive in the Gaza Strip by Hamas terrorists at "Hostages Square" in Tel Aviv on March 4, 2024. Photo by Miriam Alster/Flash90.
A man posts photographs of the Israelis still being held captive in the Gaza Strip by Hamas terrorists at "Hostages Square" in Tel Aviv on March 4, 2024. Photo by Miriam Alster/Flash90.

While Israel has shown flexibility in the hopes of arriving at a hostage deal, Hamas has impeded an agreement, Matthew Miller, the U.S. State Department spokesman said on Monday.

“Israel moved a significant way in submitting that proposal,” Miller said during the department’s press briefing. “There was a deal on the table that would achieve much of what Hamas claims it wants to achieve, and they have not taken that deal.”

In response to Israel’s most generous offer yet, Hamas dropped the number of hostages it is willing to release from 40 to 20, according to Israel’s Channel 12.

The terrorist organization also demanded the release of more hardened terrorists and a ratio of more jailed Palestinian terrorists released per Israeli hostage freed. It also appeared to reject a phased deal, instead demanding an immediate withdrawal of IDF forces from the Gaza Strip along with international guarantees, per Channel 12.

Indirect talks that took place in Cairo, Doha and Paris ended on April 8.

Hamas said on Saturday that it reaffirms “our adherence to our demands and the national demands of our people,” with “a permanent ceasefire, the withdrawal of the occupation army from the entire Gaza Strip, the return of the displaced to their areas and places of residence, intensification of the entry of relief and aid and the start of reconstruction.”

The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office and the Mossad stated jointly on Sunday of Yahya Sinwar, Hamas leader in Gaza, that “The rejection of the proposal by the three mediators, which included the most significant flexibility on Israel’s part, proves that Sinwar does not want a humanitarian deal and the return of the hostages.”

“Israel will continue to strive to realize the objectives of the war with Hamas with full force and leave no stone unturned to return the 133 hostages from Gaza forthwith,” they added.

The IDF estimates that more than 30 of those hostages are no longer alive.

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