US says Hamas added new conditions in truce talks, but deal still possible

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

Friends and relatives of the Israeli hostages held in the Gaza Strip by the Hamas terror group attend a rally calling for their release, in Tel Aviv, March 9, 2024. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Friends and relatives of the Israeli hostages held in the Gaza Strip by the Hamas terror group attend a rally calling for their release, in Tel Aviv, March 9, 2024. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Hamas in its response last week to the latest hostage deal framework added new conditions that Israel says it cannot accept, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan says.

Sullivan offers the most detailed response from a US official regarding last week’s Hamas response during a press briefing in which he was asked for a status update on the talks.

“Hamas has put a proposal on the table — this is after Israel, working with Qatar, Egypt and the United States, had indicated a willingness to move forward on a six-week ceasefire in return for the release of a number of hostages, leading to further phases from there, and Hamas had given us nothing for quite some time,” Sullivan says, reiterating that there could be a deal immediately if Hamas would just agree to release roughly 40 Israeli female, elderly, and wounded hostages.

Instead, Hamas “put a proposal on the table where they’ve added a series of other conditions… The Israeli government has responded by saying they can’t just accept that. They regard some of those conditions as going too far, but that’s what a negotiation is about,” the US national security adviser continues, noting that negotiating teams are in Qatar trying to secure a deal.

“We believe that those discussions are very alive, that a deal is possible,” Sullivan says.

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