The ceasefire negotiations between Israel and Hamas are at a dead end, a senior Palestinian official told The Times of Israel on Thursday.
According to the official, there have been a series of efforts and consultations since yesterday aimed at finding agreement for a 72-hour truce.
Throughout the consultations, Israel has insisted that the IDF will continue to operate during the truce period against tunnels that cross into Israel, while Hamas insisted that anti-tunnel activities stop. Still, Hamas has reportedly given its consent for IDF troops to remain in Gaza for the duration of the truce.
The Israeli government’s announcement earlier Thursday that the IDF’s anti-tunnel activities would continue with or without a ceasefire was undermining the ceasefire efforts, the official said.
He added that Palestinian delegations could only go to Cairo for talks after a ceasefire was already in place, this is apparently an Egyptian demand. He said that on that, too, there was no agreement.
The official added that an Israeli unilateral withdrawal from Gaza would place Hamas in a difficult position, since it would not have achieved any of its demands for stopping the fighting from its side.
On Wednesday, a three-person Israeli delegation held talks in Cairo with Egyptian officials on a possible ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.
US Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday that he remained hopeful for a ceasefire, but declined to predict when it would take effect.
Kerry, on a visit to India, said he remained in close contact on the telephone with players in the Middle East to try to end the conflict.
“The United States remains hopeful that it is achievable, and the sooner the better,” Kerry said.
Times of Israel staff and AFP contributed to this report.