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18 May, 2024 21:12

Israel-Hamas talks ‘stopped’ – media

Israeli broadcaster Kan has reported that the two belligerents couldn’t agree on what the “end of the war” would look like
Israel-Hamas talks ‘stopped’ – media

Peace negotiations between Israel and Hamas have been put on hold over major disagreements, Israeli broadcaster Kan has reported, citing anonymous sources. Haaretz has confirmed the “impasse” in the talks, which were mediated by Qatar and Egypt.

Hostilities in Gaza broke out last October after Hamas militants staged a deadly incursion into Israeli territory, killing an estimated 1,200 people and abducting hundreds more, most of them civilians. Israel retaliated with a military campaign against the armed group, subjecting the densely populated Palestinian enclave to months of heavy aerial bombardment. According to Hamas-controlled health authorities in Gaza, Israel’s military operation has claimed the lives of more than 35,000 Palestinians, with nearly 80,000 sustaining injuries.

While Qatari, Egyptian and US middlemen have for months been trying to get the two belligerents to agree to a ceasefire, so far these efforts have apparently been fruitless.

In its report on Friday, Kan alleged that the negotiations “are not taking place at the moment” since “Egypt and Qatar have adopted the position of Hamas.” According to the media outlet, the mediators suggested sealing a ceasefire in exchange for the release of hostages.

Kan quoted its anonymous sources as saying that there is a “large” divergence of opinion between the Palestinian militant group and Israel, especially over how each would define the “end of the war.” Another major bone of contention, the broadcaster claimed, was Israel’s refusal to unconditionally release incarcerated Hamas militants at the group’s request.

On Saturday, Israel’s Haaretz, citing an unnamed foreign source familiar with the talks, also reported that the negotiations “are currently at an impasse, and there is no progress.”

On Tuesday, the prime minister of Qatar, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, revealed that recent weeks had seen “some momentum building,” but that “unfortunately things didn’t move in the right direction.”

“Right now, we are in a status of almost a stalemate,” he said.

Sheikh Al Thani noted that “there is one party that wants to end the war and then talk about the hostages, and there is another party who wants the hostages and wants to continue the war.” There is little hope for progress unless Israel and Hamas see eye to eye on this fundamental issue, he warned.

The Qatari prime minister also questioned whether Israel was seeking an end to hostilities in good faith.

I don’t think that they are considering this as an option… even when we are talking about the deal and leading to a potential ceasefire,” he said.