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Hamas representative denies new negotiations with Israel amid Gaza truce talks

Palestinians prepare to flee Rafah (Photo: Reuters)

A senior Hamas representative Osama Hamdan has firmly rejected the notion of engaging in new negotiations with Israel, countering Israeli media reports suggesting a potential revival of talks for a Gaza truce, as reported by Al Jazeera.

In a recent telephone interview with Al Jazeera Arabic, Hamdan emphasised that the priority lies in Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza and the cessation of all hostilities. “We do not need new negotiations,” he asserted, underlining that Hamas had already acquiesced to a ceasefire proposal, which Israel had rebuffed.

Hamdan expressed scepticism about Israel’s willingness to accept fresh proposals, cautioning against granting Israel additional time to perpetuate aggression in the absence of substantial guarantees.

Earlier this month, Hamas greenlit a ceasefire proposal mediated by Qatar and Egypt, aimed at ending the seven-month Gaza conflict, despite Israel deeming the offer inadequate. Reports from Israeli media suggest an impending renewal of negotiations for a Gaza captive release agreement, following discussions with mediators in Paris, Al Jazeera reported.

Israeli intelligence chief David Barnea purportedly agreed to a new negotiation framework with CIA Director Bill Burns and Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani. However, there are concerns within the defence ministry that any temporary ceasefire agreement may merely pave the way for future hostilities at Israel’s discretion.

Hamas has remained steadfast in its stance, insisting on a permanent cessation of hostilities rather than settling for a temporary truce. Conversely, Israel has reiterated its commitment to ending the conflict only upon achieving its objectives, including the complete dismantlement of Hamas. Yet, mounting international pressure, coupled with increasing isolation, poses significant challenges for Israel.

Recent developments, such as the International Court of Justice’s order to halt the Rafah offensive, and the International Criminal Court’s pursuit of arrest warrants against Israeli leaders, reflect a growing diplomatic impasse. Additionally, Ireland, Norway, and Spain’s decisions to recognise Palestine further underscore Israel’s diplomatic predicament.

Amid these developments, efforts to achieve a ceasefire and reopen the Gaza border crossing have gained momentum. Washington has engaged in discussions with Israeli officials, including war cabinet minister Benny Gantz, to explore avenues for a ceasefire and humanitarian aid access.

Cairo continues to play a pivotal role in mediating ceasefire negotiations and facilitating prisoner exchanges. Egypt’s ongoing efforts aim to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, exacerbated by the closure of the Rafah crossing following Israeli military operations.

The updated casualty figures from Israel’s offensive in Gaza since October 7 indicate that at least 35,903 individuals have lost their lives, with 80,420 sustaining injuries.

Conversely, the revised death toll within Israel resulting from Hamas attacks stands at 1,139, with several individuals still held captive.

Despite widespread public outcry and protests in Tel Aviv demanding action to secure the release of captives held in Gaza, Netanyahu’s government has yet to broker a deal with Hamas. Critics question the government’s commitment to reaching a resolution, casting doubt on its sincerity in pursuing a negotiated settlement, Al Jazeera reported.