Israel Rejects Ceasefire Talks Until Hamas Provides List of Hostages Who Are Still Alive

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Israel has decided against participating in further discussions aimed at achieving a temporary ceasefire and a prisoner exchange until it receives a list of living hostages still held by Hamas, Axios reports.

Qatar and Egypt, acting as mediators between Israel and Hamas, attempted to persuade Israel to engage in talks in Doha by assuring that if an Israeli delegation were dispatched, Egypt and Qatar would ensure the provision of a list of living hostages. Additionally, they pledged to press Hamas to moderate its demands concerning the number of Palestinian prisoners to be released for each Israeli hostage. However, following three days of negotiations in Doha, the Israeli delegation returned home without any satisfactory resolutions. An unnamed Israeli official expressed disappointment, stating, “The mediators promised that Hamas would give numbers and that didn’t happen.”

Despite Qatari and Egyptian officials proposing another round of talks in Cairo for the upcoming week, Israel declined the offer due to the mediators’ inability to obtain the promised list of hostages from Hamas. The same official remarked, “There is no point in starting another round of talks until we receive the lists of which of the hostages are alive and until Hamas gives its answer regarding the ‘ratio’ that defines how many prisoners will be released for each hostage.”

Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, during a televised press conference on Thursday night, emphasized the importance of knowing the names of all the hostages Israel expects to see released within the current proposed framework. He asserted that it is premature to determine if the planned deal will materialize in the near future. Netanyahu underscored Israel’s firm stance against conceding to Hamas’s demands, stating, “We won’t capitulate to Hamas’s delusional demands.” He affirmed Israel’s determination to secure the release of all hostages, regardless of the negotiation framework.

Senior Israeli officials disclosed to Axios their anticipation of the potential impact of American pressure exerted during US President Joe Biden’s discussions with Egyptian and Qatari leaders on Thursday. Meanwhile, reports from Ynet indicated that Hamas remained steadfast in its demands during a security cabinet briefing on the prisoner swap negotiations Thursday night.

In a notable development, Israel reportedly provided the Egyptian government with a list of security prisoners it would not release, even if a deal with Hamas were reached. Despite this, the Israeli delegation is set to participate in the Cairo talks scheduled for the following week.

President Biden expressed cautious optimism earlier this week regarding the prospect of reaching a deal by early next week, although he acknowledged potential setbacks following a fatal stampede around an aid convoy in northern Gaza on Thursday. On Friday, Biden maintained his hopeful stance, stating, “We’ve been working and hopefully we’ll know shortly.”

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry also expressed optimism at the Antalya Diplomacy Forum in Turkey on Friday, asserting that a ceasefire and hostage exchange could still be achieved before the start of Ramadan.

The IDF has confirmed the deaths of 31 of those still held by Hamas, citing new intelligence and findings obtained by troops operating in Gaza. One more person is listed as missing since October 7, and their fate is still unknown. Hamas is also holding the bodies of fallen IDF soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin since 2014, as well as two Israeli civilians, Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed, who are both thought to be alive after entering the Strip of their own accord in 2014 and 2015 respectively.

{Matzav.com}


1 COMMENT

  1. It must be the Zchus of Baba-Metziya. Hopefully this scintilla of intelligence will persist during the final months of the D.Y. masechta.

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