In first, US describes Hamas response to Israeli ceasefire offer as a ‘rejection’

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

FILE - US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller during a news briefing at the State Department, July 18, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nathan Howard, File)
FILE - US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller during a news briefing at the State Department, July 18, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nathan Howard, File)

WASHINGTON — The US, for the first time, has characterized Hamas’s June 11 response to the latest Israeli hostage deal proposal as a rejection of that offer.

The terror group “came back several weeks ago and rejected the proposal that was on the table,” US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller says during a press briefing.

“They gave us a written response that rejected the proposal put forward by Israel, that President Biden had outlined, that the United Nations Security Council and countries all around the world had endorsed — a written rejection and counter-proposal that came from Hamas.

To date, US officials had not gone as far as their Israeli counterparts in saying Hamas’s response amounted to a rejection.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had criticized the response, saying the Israeli offer was nearly identical to the previous one made by Hamas, giving the terror group no reason to reject it. He says the Hamas response included some changes that were not workable and others that were.

Egyptian and Qatari mediators have been in contact with Hamas over the past two weeks in an attempt to bridge the gaps with Israel.

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