Mossad Says Hamas Has Rejected Ceasefire Offer for Hostages, Exploiting Tensions With Iran

Mossad Says Hamas Has Rejected Ceasefire Offer for Hostages, Exploiting Tensions With Iran
Israeli tanks maneuver on their way to Gaza, near the Israel-Gaza border, in Israel, on April 10, 2024. (Amir Cohen/Reuters)

After more than half a year, negotiations between Israel and the Islamist terrorist group Hamas remain deadlocked. Hamas recently rejected a ceasefire proposal by Israel, stating on April 13 that the response to last week’s proposal was being handed to mediators in Egypt and Qatar.

“It has been over a week since the Cairo meeting – Hamas has rejected the outline that was tabled by the mediators, the Office of Israel’s Prime Minister and Mossad posted on X on April 14.

The terrorist group has staunchly rejected any proposal unless their demands are met, and any agreement must constitute an end to the war.

Hamas is demanding a permanent ceasefire and withdrawal from Gaza.

“We.. reaffirm our adherence to our demands and the national demands of our people; with a permanent ceasefire, the withdrawal of the occupation army from the entire Gaza Strip, the return of the displaced to their areas and places of residence, intensification of the entry of relief and aid, and the start of reconstruction,” the terrorist group demanded.

Meanwhile, Israel has repeatedly demanded the release of the hostages seized by Hamas during the October 7 massacre, which triggered Israel’s retaliation against the terrorist group. Furthermore, Israel has made it clear that fighting in the region will continue until Hamas is completely eliminated from the territory.

“The rejection of the proposal from the three mediators,” according to a statement by Israel’s Prime Minister’s office and the Mossad Intelligence agency, “which included significantly greater room for flexibility on the Israeli side, proves that [Hamas leader Yahya] Sinwar is not interested in a humanitarian deal and in the return of the hostages, and continues to take advantage of tensions with Iran to try to unite the theaters and to achieve a general escalation in the region.”

Israel also confirmed plans to attack the southern Gaza city of Rafah. The city is reportedly offering shelter to over a million refugees.

“Israel will continue strive to realize the objectives of the war with Hamas with full force, and leave no stone unturned to return the 133 hostages from Gaza forthwith,” according to Israel’s statement.

Hamas on April 13 declared its readiness for a prisoners-for-hostages swap deal with Israel, which would see the release of the more than 130 hostages still in captivity in return for hundreds of Palestinians jailed in Israel.

The Hamas statement came a few days after several members of the family of the group’s chief Ismail Haniyeh were killed in Gaza, which stoked fears among the families of the hostages that this would disrupt efforts to secure their release from the hands of the terrorists.

The terrorist group’s chief told Reuters in Qatar the day after the killings, that his group still sought a deal but accused Israel of procrastinating and evading a response to the group’s demands.

Several governments around the world have been pushing for a ceasefire amid the ongoing conflict, although there has not been much indication of progress between the two sides.

While Hamas is demanding an end to the Israeli offensive, as well as a withdrawal of Israeli forces, and permission for Gaza’s displaced Palestinians to return to their homes, Israel has shown reluctance to comply with the requests, due to the insidious nature and approach of the terrorist group.

The news of Hamas’ latest proposal reached Israel on the evening of April 13. Israel failed to immediately release a statement due to being focused on the attack by Iran, according to an Israeli official, the Times of Israel reported.

Over 300 drone and multiple missile attacks were launched by Iran against Israel on April 13.

Low-level negotiations are reportedly still ongoing in Cairo.

Reuters contributed to this article.

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