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The latest casualty count from Israel’s offensive in Gaza since 7 October shows that at least 35,903 people have lost their lives, and 80,420 have been injured. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Osama Hamdan, a senior Hamas representative, has strongly rejected the notion of starting new negotiations with Israel. He denied Israeli media reports that suggested the possibility of resuming talks for a ceasefire in Gaza, as reported by Al Jazeera.

In a recent telephone interview with Al Jazeera Arabic, Hamdan stressed that the priority is Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza and an end to all hostilities. “We don’t need new negotiations,” he stressed, noting that Hamas has already accepted the ceasefire proposal, which Israel has rejected.

Hamdan expressed doubts over Israel’s willingness to accept the new proposals, and cautioned against giving Israel additional time to continue its aggression in the absence of concrete guarantees.

Earlier this month, Hamas gave the green light to a ceasefire proposal brokered by Qatar and Egypt aimed at ending the seven-month-long Gaza conflict, while Israel deemed the proposal insufficient. Israeli media reports suggest that negotiations for a Gaza prisoner release deal are being renewed, following discussions with mediators in Paris, reports Al Jazeera.

Israeli intelligence chief David Barnea reportedly agreed on a new negotiating framework with CIA Director Bill Burns and Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani. However, there are concerns within the Defense Ministry that any temporary ceasefire agreement could only pave the way for future hostilities at Israel’s discretion.

Hamas has remained firm in its stance, insisting on a permanent end to hostilities rather than a temporary ceasefire. Israel, in contrast, has reiterated its commitment to ending the conflict only after achieving its objectives, including the complete dismantling of Hamas. Nevertheless, growing international pressure and increasing isolation pose significant challenges for Israel.

Recent developments, such as the International Court of Justice’s order to halt the Rafah attack, and the International Criminal Court’s pursuit of arrest warrants against Israeli leaders, reflect the growing diplomatic impasse. Additionally, decisions by Ireland, Norway and Spain to recognise Palestine further underscore Israel’s diplomatic predicament.

Amid these developments, efforts to achieve a ceasefire and reopen Gaza border crossings have gained momentum. Washington is in discussions with Israeli officials, including war cabinet minister Benny Gantz, to find ways for a ceasefire and humanitarian aid access.

Cairo is playing a key role in mediating ceasefire talks and facilitating prisoner exchanges. Egypt’s ongoing efforts are aimed at alleviating the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, which has been exacerbated by the closure of the Rafah crossing following Israeli military operations.

The latest casualty count from Israel’s offensive against Gaza since 7 October shows that at least 35,903 people have been killed and 80,420 injured.

In contrast, the revised number of people killed in Israel as a result of Hamas attacks is 1,139, with many more still being held captive.

Despite widespread public outrage and protests in Tel Aviv demanding action to release those held hostage in Gaza, Netanyahu’s government has yet to reach a deal with Hamas. Critics question the government’s sincerity in working to reach a deal, Al Jazeera reports.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

first published: 26 May 2024 | 9:17 am First

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