Hamas is holding up talks on ceasefire and hostages, CIA chief says | EUROtoday

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CIA director William Burns blamed Hamas on Thursday for allegedly holding up negotiations to finish the battle in Gaza and return Israeli hostages, pointing to their determination final week to reject an Israeli ceasefire proposal.

“It was a deep disappointment to get a negative reaction from Hamas,” the intelligence official, who traveled to Cairo for negotiations earlier this month, mentioned on Thursday whereas talking on the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas. “Right now, it’s that negative reaction that really is standing in the way of innocent civilians in Gaza getting humanitarian relief that they so desperately need.”

“And it breaks your heart because you can see in very human terms what’s at stake here as well,” he added.

The feedback echo the view of Mossad, Israel’s international intelligence company, which not too long ago accused the leaders of Hamas of not being taken with a deal. Hamas seized greater than 200 hostages in its terror assault on Israel on 7 October, when it killed greater than 1,200 folks.

Last week, Hamas introduced its rejection of the most recent confidential Israeli proposal, arguing it hadn’t met key calls for.

“We … reaffirm our adherence to our demands and the national demands of our people; with a permanent ceasefire, the withdrawal of the occupation army from the entire Gaza Strip, the return of the displaced to their areas and places of residence, intensification of the entry of relief and aid, and the start of reconstruction,” the group mentioned of its determination.

William Burns held negotiations in Cairo earlier this month (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Israel, in the meantime, has insisted on the return of the 130 people believed to nonetheless be in captivity, 1 / 4 of whom might have already perished. It has additionally insisted it received’t cease combating till Hamas is destroyed as a army drive.

Last week, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu mentioned a date has been set for the IDF invasion of Rafah, the southern Gaza metropolis the place greater than one million civilians have taken refuge after being instructed by the Israelis to flee south.

Behind the scenes, points over the hostage-exchange portion of any ceasefire settlement are reportedly a key sticking level.

A Hamas official instructed The New York Times it doesn’t have sufficient residing civilian hostages to adjust to a proposal to launch 40 folks over the following six weeks.

An Israeli official, in the meantime, instructed the paper Hamas has proposed releasing half that quantity, beneath a narrower set of standards solely together with girls and the aged, slightly than a broader standards Israeli had requested of hostages who’re wounded or sick.