WORLD

Israeli talk about “new efforts” to revive exchange negotiations, but Hamas denies

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On Sunday morning, the Israeli Public Broadcasting Authority (KAN) quoted Israeli officials as saying that a “new round” of negotiations regarding prisoners in the Gaza Strip “is in a preliminary stage, and it will become clear later whether there is a basis for continuing the talks.”

The Walla website reported, citing an Israeli official, that the war council will meet this evening to discuss negotiations on the exchange deal.

Israeli Channel 12 also quoted a prominent Israeli official as saying that the goal of the “new” exchange deal discussions is to lay the foundations for an offer to conclude a deal and a continued truce.

Yesterday, Saturday, the channel quoted officials as saying that Tel Aviv was ready to discuss the possibility of reaching continued calm in Gaza within the framework of the exchange deal discussions.

Smotrich’s comment

In turn, the “Israel Today” website quoted security officials as saying that negotiations are expected to resume “in the coming days,” and will most likely be in Qatar.

The officials stressed that “even if the broad outlines of stopping the war were agreed upon, Israel will resume it when necessary,” noting that the fighting in Rafah and the northern Gaza Strip will continue during the negotiations until the deal is signed.

Commenting on the efforts being made to return the negotiation train to its first track, Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich said, “It is a mistake to send the negotiating delegation again.”

Resume negotiations

Yesterday, the American news site Axios quoted an Israeli official as saying that it was decided to resume negotiations “next week” on the basis of new proposals, led by Egyptian and Qatari mediators and with the active participation of the United States.

The website added that the director of the Israeli intelligence service (Mossad), David Barnea, returned to Israel after his meeting with the director of the CIA, William Burns, and Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman Al Thani, the prime minister and foreign minister of Qatar, in Paris.

The Israeli official revealed that the three officials discussed in the French capital a formula to allow the resumption of negotiations to release detainees in Gaza.

On the other hand, the American CBS network quoted an official in the administration of President Joe Biden that there is “progress” regarding the resumption of exchange negotiations, and that contacts are continuing and Washington is working closely with the Egyptian and Qatari mediators.

Hamas denied

The leader of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), Osama Hamdan, denied that the movement had received from the mediators any talk related to the resumption of negotiations on an exchange deal and a ceasefire in Gaza.

Hamdan considered – in a statement to Al Jazeera – that today’s talk about new negotiations is “not serious.”

He also stressed that any Israeli proposal cannot be trusted, and that there is no need for new negotiations in light of the movement’s approval of the paper previously presented by the mediators.

He also considered that the priority now is to implement the decision of the International Court of Justice, and for the American President to announce his willingness to oblige Israel to do so.

In turn, member of the Hamas Political Bureau, Izzat al-Rishq, said, “We have not received anything from the mediators regarding the resumption of negotiations.”

Al-Rishq added – in a statement – “A permanent cessation of aggression in the entire Gaza Strip, and not in Rafah alone. This is what our people are waiting for.”

He pointed out that (Israeli Prime Minister) “Benjamin Netanyahu kills prisoners, does not care about them or their families, and does not tire of evasion and giving false impressions of his interest in them in order to gain more time to continue the aggression” against Gaza.

demonstrations

Israeli talk about new efforts to resume negotiations coincides with the continuing internal demonstrations demanding a new exchange deal leading to the release of detainees in Gaza.

Demonstrations took place in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and other cities, during which participants raised banners demanding that Netanyahu stop the war now and immediately release the prisoners.

Anti-government protests also continued outside Netanyahu’s private residence in Caesarea, as well as in Haifa.

The families of the Israeli prisoners said that the military pressure did not change anything about Hamas’ conditions for releasing the detainees.

During a press conference in Tel Aviv, the families demanded an immediate end to the war and an exchange deal, because it is the only way to release their children. They said that the Netanyahu government’s approach of eliminating Hamas and returning the kidnapped people at the same time has proven its failure.

This coincided with the publication by the Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Hamas movement, yesterday, Saturday, of a video clip in which it addressed the families of the prisoners, saying that “the Israeli army, under orders from Netanyahu, insulted the dignity of its sons, living and dead, and that time is running out.”