Gaza ceasefire in limbo as Hamas seeks changes, says US

June 13, 2024 10:20 am

[Source: Reuters]

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday that Hamas had proposed numerous changes, some unworkable, to a U.S.-backed proposal for a ceasefire with Israel in Gaza, but that mediators were determined to close the gaps.

Senior Hamas official Osama Hamdan denied that the Palestinian Islamist group had put forward new ideas. Speaking to pan-Arab Al-Araby TV, he reiterated Hamas’ stance that it was Israel that was rejecting proposals and accused the U.S. administration of going along with its close ally to “evade any commitment” to a blueprint for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza.

White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said on Wednesday many of Hamas’ proposed changes were minor “and not unanticipated” while others differed more substantially from what was outlined in a U.N. Security Council resolution on Monday backing the plan put forward by U.S. President Joe Biden.

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Hamas also wants written guarantees from the U.S. on the ceasefire plan, two Egyptian security sources told Reuters.

Earlier on Wednesday, Izzat al-Rishq, from Hamas’ political bureau based outside Gaza, said its formal response to the U.S. proposal was “responsible, serious and positive” and “opens up a wide pathway” for an accord.

Biden’s proposal envisages a truce and a phased release of Israeli hostages in Gaza in exchange for Palestinians jailed in Israel, ultimately leading to a permanent end to the war.

At a press conference with Qatar’s prime minister in Doha, Blinken said some of the counter-proposals from Hamas, which has ruled Gaza since 2007, had sought to amend terms that it had accepted in previous talks.