Hamas, Israel say 'no progress' made in Cairo ceasefire talks

Hamas, Israel say 'no progress' made in Cairo ceasefire talks
Ceasefire talks in Cairo remain deadlocked after with no progress on a deal between Israel and Hamas, the two sides confirmed.
3 min read
08 April, 2024
Gaza has now been subject to over six months of war, with no progress made towards a ceasefire in the territory [Getty/file photo]

Hamas officials on Monday said that "no progress was made" following a new round of ceasefire negotiations in the Egyptian capital Cairo over the weekend, which were attended by Israeli, Qatari and US representatives.

The Palestinian group said that Israel's position remained "unchanged", yielding no results regarding a potential truce in Gaza, which has been under an indiscriminate Israeli assault for six months.

The Israeli negotiators arrived in Cairo on Sunday evening and presented their proposals in a meeting with Egyptian, Qatari and US mediators, Egyptian sources told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.

CIA chief William Burns was also present at the talks, highlighting US pressure for a truce deal in Gaza, where at least 33,175 Palestinians, mostly women and children, have been killed since October.

A Hamas official said there was "no progress yet," following the meeting. 

"There is no change in the position of the occupation and therefore, there is nothing new in the Cairo talks," the official, who asked not to be named, told Reuters.

An Israeli official told the Ynet website that they "still don’t see a deal on the horizon."

"The distance [between the sides] is still great and there has been nothing dramatic so far," he added, The Times of Israel reported.

Hamas's delegation was led by Khalil Al-Hayya, the group’s deputy chief in Gaza, while the Israeli delegation was headed by Mossad chief David Barnea and the head of Shin Bet, Ronen Bar, The New Arab’s Arabic-language sister site Al-Araby Al-Jadeed and Israeli media confirmed.

No details have emerged so far regarding Israel's demands, but Tel Aviv has routinely rejected Hamas requests for a permanent ceasefire and withdrawal of troops from Gaza throughout ceasefire negotiations held since the war began.

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In March, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went as as far as calling the demands "delusional", and has maintained his vow "to destroy Hamas" throughout the war.

The Hamas negotiators had met with mediators from Cairo and Doha on Sunday afternoon to discuss their proposals, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported. These are likely to include the distribution of aid to those in need, the return of  Palestinians in Gaza to their residential areas as well as free movement of Palestinians in the territory.

The return of displaced Palestinians to other parts of Gaza was reportedly "the main sticking point" in the negotiations, Israeli ministers and officials told Channel 12.

The Hamas delegation in Cairo was invited again for a second meeting aimed at reaching an agreement on the terms of a final deal, according to sources.

The Palestinian group has continuously said that a hostage-prisoner exchange deal would only occur provided that Israel agreed to put an end to the war.

Monday's outcome contradicted several Egyptian reports which suggested on Sunday that a temporary truce was on the horizon.

Sources on Sunday told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that a truce was "possible" in time for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr which marks the end of Ramadan.

Cairo-based Al Qahera TV also said that "significant progress on several contentious points of agreement" was made and that Qatari and Hamas delegations were expected to return "within two days to finalise the terms of the agreement".

The state-linked outlet's report - which was not confirmed by either Israel or Hamas - added that "consultations were expected to continue over the next 48 hours".

Egypt, Qatar and the US have mediated previous rounds of negotiations, but to little success. However, a week-long truce was agreed on in November, which saw the release of  240 Palestinian prisoners - including Ahed Tamimi - and 105 hostages, including Israeli, Thai and Filipino nationals.

Israel's war in Gaza, which began on October 7, has damaged much of the territory's infrastructure and plunged the enclave into a deep humanitarian crisis.

Experts and humanitarian organisations have warned of imminent famine and the spread of disease, likely increasing the death toll.