Hamas Negotiators Leave Cairo With No Breakthrough in Cease-Fire Talks

Hamas negotiators left Cairo on Thursday without a breakthrough in talks over a cease-fire in Gaza, the group said, as hopes for an imminent truce in its five-month-long war with Israel continued to dim.

International mediators have sought to broker a truce between Israel and Hamas that would see the release of some hostages held in Gaza and Palestinians detained in Israeli jails, but weeks of indirect negotiations appear to have stalled. Hamas wants Israel to commit to a permanent cease-fire during or after hostage releases, a demand that Israel has rejected.

“The Hamas delegation left Cairo today to consult with the movement’s leadership, as negotiations and efforts continue to stop the aggression, return the displaced, and bring in aid for the Palestinian people,” Hamas said on Telegram, reiterating its demands in the talks.

Egypt and Qatar, along with the United States, are trying to secure a cease-fire before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins around March 10, worried that there could be flare-ups during the month of fasting.

But despite cautious optimism after Israeli officials met with mediators in Paris in mid-February, the hoped-for deal has yet to materialize. Under a proposed framework for a deal, roughly 40 of the more than 100 remaining hostages in Gaza and some Palestinian prisoners would be released during a six-week truce, according to officials familiar with the matter.

U.S. officials have said that Israel has more or less accepted the framework deal. President Biden said earlier this week that “the Israelis have been cooperating” and that the onus was now on Hamas to accept the proposal.

“There’s an offer out there that’s rational,” Mr. Biden told reporters. He added that if a cease-fire was not reached before Ramadan, “it could be very, very dangerous.”

The Israeli prime minister’s office declined to comment on the state of the talks.

Mahmoud Mardawi, a Hamas official, said in a televised interview on Wednesday night that the negotiations had “come to a standstill.” He blamed Israel for “clearly undermining any horizon for an agreement” and demanded a full withdrawal of Israeli troops under any truce. Israeli leaders have said they want to maintain control of security in Gaza after the war.

“The ball is not in our court,” Mr. Mardawi told the Arabic-language broadcaster Al-Ghad on Wednesday. “Whoever agrees to our people’s fundamental demands, that is what will pave the way for an agreement.”

Related Articles

Back to top button