Gaza peace talks at 'dead end' as Israel rejects permanent ceasefire: report

Gaza peace talks at 'dead end' as Israel rejects permanent ceasefire: report
Israel has apparently abandoned the idea of negotiations over a ceasefire in Gaza and captive exchange deal, according to an Israeli media report.
3 min read
23 June, 2024
Israel has rejected a permanent ceasefire and has continued attacks on civilians in Gaza [Getty]

A senior Israeli official said on Saturday that negotiations over a ceasefire deal with Hamas have reached a dead end, with Israel unwilling to support a permanent ceasefire and the withdrawal of its forces from Gaza.

“The mediators are unable to convey the idea to Hamas that there will be no better deal than the one proposed by Israel,” the unnamed Israeli official told Channel 12.

The Israeli official made further comments blaming Hamas for the impasses, echoing the language of Israeli and US officials that “the ball is Hamas’s court” and that stopping the war is in their hands.

“We have reached a situation where there is no movement. Israel has gone as far as it can go. President Biden has adopted the proposal. The Security Council voted on a proposal for Israel to stop the war,” the official said.

“There is no longer any room for additional discussions, and mediators no longer have influence over [Yahya] Sinwar [head of Hamas in Gaza], who is in a tunnel making the decisions,” he added.

Despite this rhetoric, Israel has not accepted the ceasefire proposal announced by Biden in May, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stating clearly that Israel does not support a permanent ceasefire.

Israel’s demand appears to be for Hamas to release all the hostages right now in exchange for a temporary ceasefire, while Biden’s proposal involved a phased release of hostages in exchange resulting in temporary ceasefires that would ultimately lead to a permanent truce.

However, even this deal does not guarantee peace, with Israel able to unilaterally end any temporary ceasefire in Phase One of the plan. Hamas has said it will only support a deal that includes a permanent ceasefire and, a week before Biden’s plan, accepted an Egyptian-Qatari deal that would have seen every Israeli captive released.

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Israel rejected this plan and went ahead with its brutal assault on Rafah.

On Friday, the head of Hamas’s political bureau Ismail Haniyeh said the movement is still keen to negotiate.

“[Hamas] is open to engaging with any proposal or initiative that secures the foundations of the Palestinian resistance’s position in ceasefire negotiations in the Gaza Strip,” he said.

The Hamas leader also emphasised that Hamas “prioritises ending the criminal war against our people.”

During a dialogue seminar, Haniyeh once again outlined Hamas’s demands, which are permanent ceasefire, reconstruction, prisoner exchange and sufficient aid relief.

Since Biden announced his peace proposal, Israel’s violence in Gaza has increased, with Tel Aviv carrying out several massacres, including two on Saturday that killed at least 42 Palestinians after Israel struck two residential areas of Gaza City.

Despite this, Qatar said on Friday it was pursuing efforts to “bridge the gap” between Israel and Palestinian group Hamas to reach a ceasefire in Gaza and release Israeli captives held there.

“There have been several meetings with the Hamas leadership to try to bridge the gap between the two parties and reach an agreement that will lead to a ceasefire and the release of the Israeli hostages,” Qatar's Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani told a news conference in Madrid.