US says waiting on Hamas to respond to Biden's Gaza ceasefire deal as negotiators meet in Doha

US says waiting on Hamas to respond to Biden's Gaza ceasefire deal as negotiators meet in Doha
American and Egyptian mediators are back in Doha on Wednesday to consult with Qatari officials on the Gaza ceasefire talks after President Biden's proposal.
2 min read
05 June, 2024
The officials are again in Qatar, one of the mediators trying to broker a deal between Hamas and Israel [Getty/file photo]

The US said it was waiting for Hamas' response to the recent Gaza ceasefire proposal announced by President Joe Biden, as Egyptian and American officials are expected back in Qatar on Wednesday to follow up on negotiations.

CIA Director William Burns will consult with Doha, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan revealed on Tuesday, while Egyptian media also reported that a security delegation from Cairo will meet with Qatari and American counterparts in Doha.

The three countries have for months tried to broker a ceasefire deal between Hamas and Israel to end the months-long war in Gaza, which has killed over 36,500 people, mostly women and children.

The only truce so far was a week-long cessation of hostilities in November.

"The issue now is what will Hamas do?" Sullivan asked Tuesday, adding that the US was in constant contact with Doha about the talks.

"Burns will be very interested in hearing, personally, the nature of those discussions (between Qatar and Hamas) and where things will go from here."

Hamas on Tuesday criticised US and Western calls on the group to accept Biden’s plan, saying it was not Hamas which is hampering a potential deal.

In comments reported by Hamas media, senior group official Sami Abu Zuhri said Israel was not serious about reaching a deal in Gaza and was still manoeuvring under US cover.

Mediator Qatar has also criticised what it called Israel’s "unclear position" regarding Biden’s proposal.

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Major differences between Hamas and Israel include the future governance of the Gaza Strip and the Israeli military pullout from the enclave.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is also hesitant about accepting Biden's proposal, as the hawkish premier faces internal opposition from far-right members of his coalition government.

On Saturday, following Biden's unprecedented speech outlining his plan for Gaza, extremist government ministers Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich publicly threatened to resign - and therefore collapse Netanyahu's government - if the deal were to be accepted, citing the necessity to achieve total victory over Hamas.

Talks for a ceasefire have been stalled for months and negotiations were further complicated by Israel’s ground invasion of Rafah, the Gaza Strip’s southernmost city on the Egyptian border.