Hamas continues Gaza ceasefire talks in Cairo: sources

Hamas continues Gaza ceasefire talks in Cairo: sources
Egypt and Qatar listened to Hamas's responses on Sunday to a proposal that came out of a meeting held in late February in Paris, Egyptian sources said.
3 min read
04 March, 2024
Israel is waging a brutal war against the devastated Gaza Strip [Ahmad Hasaballah/Getty]

Hamas will continue talks in Cairo on Monday on reaching a ceasefire with Israel in Gaza, informed Egyptian sources have said.

Mediators Egypt and Qatar listened on Sunday, the first day of discussions, to the Palestinian group's responses to a proposal that came out of a meeting held in Paris in late February, the sources told The New Arab's Arabic edition Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.

Hamas is determined to return the displaced to northern Gaza and to ensure a comprehensive ceasefire, the sources said.

Egyptian state-linked broadcaster Al-Qahera News on Monday quoted an unnamed senior official as saying there had been "significant progress in the negotiations".

Egypt, Qatar, the US and Israel participated in last month's meeting in the French capital.

There will be an American presence at the talks in Cairo on Monday, according to Al-Araby Al-Jadeed's sources, who said Israel's position on sending a delegation did not affect the ongoing discussion in Egypt.

CNN reported on Sunday that no Israeli delegation would be attending discussions in Cairo.

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The American broadcaster cited an Israeli official as saying this was because Hamas hadn't replied to demands for a list stating which hostages in Gaza are dead and still living, and specification of the number of Palestinians Israel is to free in return for each hostage.

"Egypt and Qatar confirmed to the American side the possibility of reaching an agreement if pressure is exerted on the Israeli side," Al-Araby Al-Jadeed's sources said.

They indicated that Cairo sees Hamas's demands for the return of the displaced to northern Gaza, the entry of aid, and a comprehensive ceasefire as "logical".

The sources said Egypt and Qatar believe all conditions are conducive to reaching an agreement by putting pressure on the parties.

Israel's war on Gaza has so far killed more than 30,500 people in the devastated strip.

Axios reported on Sunday that US President Joe Biden had been clear to the leaders of Qatar and Egypt on Thursday that he wanted an agreement, according to two American officials.

An American source said the three heads of state "agreed the onus is currently on Hamas to close remaining gaps in the package".

The primary obstacles in discussions had been the ratio of Palestinians to be freed per hostage and the number of people to be let back to north Gaza homes, Axios said.

"The Israelis accepted the terms of the deal and if Hamas agrees, a six-week ceasefire can start immediately," the news outlet quoted a senior American official as saying.

"We still hope we can get a deal by Ramadan. The ball is in Hamas's court."

Agencies contributed to this report.