US: Hamas claimed to accept ceasefire offer, but ‘that’s not what they did’

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)

US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller pushes back on Hamas’s claim yesterday that it had accepted the ceasefire proposal that was on the table.

Israel had agreed to what US Secretary of State Antony Blinken described as a “generous” hostage deal proposal late last month,” Miller explains at a press briefing. “That’s the offer that was on the table.”

“Hamas seemed to make clear in their public statements that they accepted that offer yesterday. That is not what they did. They responded with amendments or a counter-proposal, and we’re working through the details of that now,” he says, noting that CIA chief Bill Burns is in Cairo along with delegations from Israel, Hamas and Qatar.

This appears to be the first time that one of the mediators has publicly issued a clarification regarding Hamas’s claim from yesterday after roughly 24 hours of silence on the issue.

Earlier today, White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby added to the confusion by saying that Hamas’s response “suggests that [the sides] should be able to close the remaining gaps.”

Miller notes that most media outlets reported Hamas’s statement that it had accepted the Qatari and Egyptian mediators’ hostage deal proposal at face value.

“I don’t blame the reporting. It’s what the [Hamas] statement said. But it’s not an accurate reflection of what happened… Hamas did not accept a ceasefire proposal. Hamas responded and in their response made several suggestions.

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