Hamas rejected everything in latest hostage deal offer, upped some demands — Israeli official

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

A senior Israeli official tells The Times of Israel that Hamas’s response to the latest hostage deal proposal rejected every single clause of the offer.

The Hamas response demands that the release of Israeli hostages in the first stage of the deal be conditioned on negotiators providing guarantees that in the second stage Israel will agree to a permanent ceasefire, a complete IDF withdrawal from Gaza and the unrestricted return of Palestinians to the northern part of the enclave the Israeli official says. The latter three demands have all been non-starters for Jerusalem.

Hamas’s response also dramatically increased the number of Palestinian security prisoners it is demanding for every hostage it releases as well as the number of murder convicts it wants freed.

The Israeli official says Hamas is now only willing to initially release roughly 20 hostages who fall under the categories of women and men over 50, as opposed to the proposal crafted by Qatari, Egyptian and American mediators, which would have seen 40 hostages freed. It is also demanding that Israel agree to a six-week truce before releasing those 20 or so hostages.

“Sinwar doesn’t want a deal. He doesn’t care if Gazans continue to suffer, even after extraordinary Israeli flexibility regarding all the parameters of the American proposal,” the Israeli official says.

Most Popular