Hamas declines latest Israeli truce offer, but willing to continue negotiating

The Islamist group Hamas suggested this Wednesday that it has declined Israel’s latest counteroffer for a truce in the Gaza Strip, but was willing to continue negotiating “to reach an agreement that realizes the demands and interests of the Palestinian people.”

“Hamas has demonstrated the flexibility necessary to reach an agreement that involves a comprehensive cessation of aggression against our people. However, The occupation continues to evade the obligations of this agreement, especially those related to a permanent ceasefire, the return of the displaced, the withdrawal from the Strip and the satisfaction of the needs of our people,” the group said in a statement.

A Hamas delegation arrived in Cairo at the beginning of the week to relaunch the negotiations together with the teams of the mediating countries, Qatar, Egypt and the United States; but Israel refused to send a delegation as Hamas had not provided a list of the names of the living hostages.

According to what has been leaked, Hamas has not been able to compile that list because it does not have information on the whereabouts or status of all the hostages.since some are in the hands of incommunicado cells or other militias, such as the Islamic Jihad, which was also invited to Cairo, but has not gone.

“The movement will continue to negotiate through the brother mediators to reach an agreement that makes the demands and interests of our people a reality,” Hamas said.

US President Joe Biden stated last night that in “a couple of days” it would be known whether Hamas accepted the agreement proposal accepted by Israel; hoping to close a pact before Ramadan, a very tense time in the region, which this year will begin between March 10 and 11.

According to the US, Israel has agreed to a six-week truce if Hamas releases all sick hostages, wounded, elderly, women and children; Although it is not clear how many of the 130 hostages left inside are still alive: Israel estimates that around thirty have died, but Hamas claims that there are more than 70 “from Zionist bombings.”

Furthermore, Hamas continues to demand that this first truce pave the way for a more lasting agreement to end the Israeli military offensive, which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opposes because its objective is to “destroy Hamas” and to Therefore, he considers it essential to continue the war and reach Rafah, where four battalions of the Islamist group remain.

The draft agreement being discussed these days contemplates a six-week truce, in which Hamas will release 40 hostages, in exchange for the release of some 400 Palestinian prisoners and a considerable increase in the entry of humanitarian aid to the enclave. plunged into its greatest catastrophe, with more than 30,500 dead and where famine is already noticeable in the north.

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