Israel and Hamas accuse each other of blocking talks

After resuming talks over the Gaza war, Israel and radical Islamist Hamas yesterday accused each other of stalling the talks.

A senior Israeli government official described Hamas’s demand for a permanent cease-fire as a stumbling block in negotiations over a cease-fire and the release of hostages. “So far, Hamas has not abandoned its demand to end the war, thereby ruling out the possibility of an agreement,” a government official told the AFP news agency yesterday.

“Personal Reckoning”: Allegations Against Netanyahu

He dismissed reports that Israel had agreed to end the war to free Hamas hostages in the Gaza Strip. Meanwhile, a Hamas official reiterated that the Palestinian Authority would “under no circumstances agree to an agreement that does not expressly provide for an end to the war.” Israel continues to reject a “complete and permanent ceasefire”.

A Hamas representative accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of wanting to block the deal for “personal reasons”. Hamas is interested in a deal, but “not at any price.” If no deal is reached, Israel will take “full responsibility” as the country continues to press for a ground offensive in Rafah, south of the Gaza Strip.

Israel did not send a negotiating team

Representatives of the terrorist organization arrived in the Egyptian capital yesterday for a new round of talks. Israel has not yet sent a negotiating team to Cairo. An Israeli government representative had announced that this would only be planned if there was a break in the negotiations.

Mediators from the United States, Egypt and Qatar have been waiting for days for Hamas to respond to a 40-day ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and an exchange of Israeli hostages for Palestinian prisoners.

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A Hamas official said there had been no progress in talks in Cairo yesterday. Today’s talks are over – new talks will take place today.

Before its delegation left, Hamas said it had examined the proposal “in a positive spirit” and now wanted to “reach an agreement” in Cairo.

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