Israel will not accept Hamas’s conditions for a permanent ceasefire as part of hostage release negotiations, an Israeli government source tells the Kan public broadcaster.
“We will not accept any conditions for ending the war,” says the source.
After over a week of waiting, Hamas finally delivered its response today to an outline hammered out in Paris last weekend with Qatari and Egyptian mediators and with UN and Israeli negotiators. It demanded a “comprehensive and complete ceasefire, and ending the aggression against our people, and guaranteeing relief, shelter, [and] reconstruction, [and] lifting the blockade of the Gaza Strip, and completing a prisoner exchange” — non-starter terms for Israel.
Kan reports that Hamas’s response is interpreted in Israel as a rejection of the proposed outline.
The terror group has doubled down on its demand that the hostage talks must include a permanent ceasefire, an end to the Israeli-Egyptian blockade on Gaza, the reconstruction of the enclave, and the release of Palestinian security prisoners in exchange for 136 remaining hostages, at least 31 of whom are dead. This tally includes two soldiers who were killed in 2014 and whose bodies have been held by Hamas since then.
The NYT reported earlier that the military fears at least 20 more hostages may have been killed.
Hamas’s condition for a permanent ceasefire has been repeatedly rejected by Israel, which has vowed to destroy the terror group following its October 7 massacre across southern communities.
Israel has tentatively agreed to short pauses to the fighting and a phased hostage release agreement.
Qatar earlier touted Hamas’s “positive response” without elaborating. US President Joe Biden called Hamas’s response “over the top” but indicated that negotiations were ongoing.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected in Israel tomorrow.