Senior Israeli official: Hamas demands ‘ridiculous,’ Sinwar not looking for truce deal

A senior Israeli official who is familiar with the negotiations toward a truce and hostage release deal in Doha says tonight that Hamas’s response to the offer on the table was “ridiculous and left no room for doubt” that the terror group’s Gaza chief Yahya “Sinwar does not want to move forward with a deal at the moment.

In a statement late Monday, Hamas said it had informed mediators that it was sticking to its original position, which includes an end to the war, a full Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, and a return of displaced Gazans to the northern part of the enclave, before hostage negotiations in exchange for Palestinian security prisoners.

Israel has repeatedly rejected these demands as “delusional” and unrealistic, and said they were non-starters.

The official tells Channel 12 tonight that Sinwar is “playing for time” and “still dreams” of an escalation of violence in Jerusalem and the West Bank during the Muslim fasting month, which began over two weeks ago. Hamas had called for such violence before the start of Ramadan, when mediators were scrambling to secure a temporary ceasefire.

“Under the conditions created, when [Sinwar] in a tunnel surrounded by hostages as a human shield with food and medicine, and when the diplomatic pressure is exerted on Israel even more strongly – he still dreams of unifying the fronts during Ramadan,” says the official.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier said Israel would not accept Hamas’s demands for a ceasefire and accused Hamas of being uninterested in proceeding with negotiations toward a deal.

He said Hamas’ rejection “served as unfortunate testimony to the damage of the Security Council decision,” which on Monday approved a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire and the release of all hostages captured by Hamas, without linking the two. The US abstained, which allowed the resolution to pass, sparking a spat with Israel.

Netanyahu said Israel would not give in to Hamas’ “delusional” demands and continue to work to destroy the terror group’s military and governing capabilities, as well as seek the release of the remaining hostages taken during Hamas’s October 7 massacre.

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