Hamas again rejects hostage deal, to present ‘roadmap’ for ending war
Israelis call for the release of hostages held captive in Gaza, outside the Red Cross offices in Tel Aviv, Jan. 18, 2024.
(Photo: Miriam Alster/Flash90)

The U.S. proposal would have seen Israel release 900 terrorists, including murderers, in exchange for 40 hostages.

JNS Staff Report
April 10, 2024

Hamas has informed mediators that it rejects the latest U.S. proposal for a renewed hostages-for-ceasefire deal, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday, citing sources as saying that the terrorist organization intends to put forward a roadmap for a permanent end to the war.

The U.S. offer would have seen Jerusalem release 900 terrorist prisoners, including murderers, in exchange for 40 hostages, along with a partial IDF withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and the unrestricted return of Palestinians to the northern part of the coastal enclave.

The plan proposed that Hamas would release more hostages at a later stage following the withdrawal of all Israeli troops from Gaza.

A senior Israeli official familiar with the talks in Cairo told the Journal that Israel was open to using the U.S. proposal as a basis for talks and that a majority in the Cabinet would vote to back a deal.

Israeli officials, however, view the framework’s plan for the free movement of Palestinians in northern Gaza and the ratio of terrorists to hostages released as significant concessions to Hamas, the newspaper said.

Indirect talks have been taking place in Cairo, Doha and Paris brokered by Egypt, Qatar and the United States for a temporary truce that would see the release of the captives still in the Strip.

The Israeli delegation led by Mossad director David Barnea departed the Egyptian capital on Monday amid conflicting reports of progress in negotiations to free the remaining hostages.

U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on Tuesday expressed frustration with Hamas, saying Israel was prepared to move forward.

Asked about U.S. President Joe Biden’s failure to secure a deal, Sullivan told reporters at a White House press briefing that “there could be a ceasefire in place today that would extend for several weeks to be built upon longer if Hamas would be prepared to release some of those people.”

He added, “I believe Israel is ready and Hamas should step up to the table and be prepared to do so as well.”

CNN reported on Wednesday that the terror group claims it is currently unable to track down 40 living female, elderly and sick captives to release in the first batch in a possible hostage release deal.

Israel has pushed for Hamas to fill out the initial release with younger male hostages, including IDF soldiers, an official in Jerusalem told CNN.

Hamas’s unwillingness or inability to tell Israel which hostages would be released is a major obstacle, a source familiar with the talks said.

Officials in Jerusalem believe that the IDF withdrawal from Khan Yunis and the flood of humanitarian aid into Gaza have hurt the chances that Hamas will agree to a hostage release deal, Ynet reported Wednesday.

“We gave up our strong cards for nothing,” the outlet quoted the Israeli sources as saying. “Hamas is digging in with its demands for an end to the war and a troop withdrawal, and is determined to play tricks with the mediators,” the sources continued.

Speaking at a women’s event in Jordan late last month, Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal declared that the organization’s leadership is “waging a negotiating battle no less fierce” than the military conflict with the IDF, according to a readout of his remarks posted to Telegram by Hamas.

Inshallah [‘God willing’], we will defeat them in the field and in the negotiating battle,” said Mashaal, adding that the group is also fighting “intense battles” in the media and on the political battlefield.

The terrorist leader reiterated that “in the negotiations, we insist on stopping the aggression, withdrawing from Gaza, returning the displaced to their places, especially in northern Gaza, providing all necessary relief, shelter and reconstruction, and ending the siege.

“We will not release their prisoners [the hostages] until we achieve these goals,” Mashaal vowed.

Leave a Reply