No breakthrough in Israeli hostage talks with Hamas

The Israeli delegation returned from Cairo after the talks on the hostage deal ended without any breakthrough on Tuesday, the Times of Israel reported, citing an official from the Israel PM Office.

ANI | Updated: 15-02-2024 13:45 IST | Created: 15-02-2024 13:45 IST
No breakthrough in Israeli hostage talks with Hamas
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (File Photo/Reuters). Image Credit: ANI
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The Israeli delegation returned from Cairo after the talks on the hostage deal ended without any breakthrough on Tuesday, the Times of Israel reported, citing an official from the Israel PM Office. The talks involved the US, Egypt, Israel and Qatar, where Israel reportedly faced 'mounting pressure' to reach an agreement to halt the war in Gaza against Hamas.

The delegation met with CIA director William Burns, Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, and Egyptian officials for talks on a truce framework. Another official said that the Israeli delegation, led by Mossad head David Barnea and Shin Bet director Ronen Bar, was "there to listen," and that they did not put a new offer on the table.

Egypt's Al-Qahera News, reported, citing a senior Egyptian official, that despite the Israeli delegation's departure, the negotiations were "positive" and would continue for three more days. Egypt's state information service also said the meeting ended with "keenness to continue consultation and coordination" on the key issues. Though Barnea and Shin Bet director Ronen Bar attended the meeting, the Egyptian statement made no mention of Israel.

"The meeting witnessed a review of the developments of the current situation," according to the announcement, and "confirmed the continued consultation and intensive coordination to achieve the goals of the ceasefire, the protection of civilians, and [work towards a] two-state solution, in a manner that enhances efforts to establish security and stability in the region." The Kan public broadcaster reported that the Mossad, together with the Shin Bet and the Israel Defence Forces, put together a new framework for a truce deal to release the hostages that were dismissed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Netanyahu rejected the new outline and instructed the trio to head to Cairo to "only listen" to the talks, without presenting new ideas or offering a formal answer to Hamas's demands, which Netanyahu has termed "delusional." According to the Times of Israel, Tel Aviv waffled on sending representatives to the Cairo talks this week but came under US pressure to do so. Top US officials have said that regardless of some of the "nonstarters," there is space to push for an agreement and that it was Washington's intention to do so.

In a call on Sunday, President Biden reportedly encouraged Netanyahu to send a delegation to Cairo to join the talks. Notably, Hamas' demands include a permanent ceasefire, a withdrawal of troops from Gaza, reconstruction of the enclave and the release of some 1,500 Palestinian prisoners, among them terror masterminds, in exchange for the remaining hostages taken on October 7, according to Times of Israel.

The report also mentioned that Netanyahu told Biden that he wants a hostage deal but it must be backed by the cabinet, an apparent reference to the key decision-making security cabinet that includes far-right allies of the premier, who have called for rejecting what they see as any "irresponsible deal" to halt the IDF's ongoing offensive. Meanwhile, the talks in Cairo were held as Israel intensified its offensive in the southern Gaza town of Rafah, where 1.4 million displaced Palestinians have fled to seek shelter from fighting elsewhere.

Israel has said that its ultimate goal is to destroy Hamas governing and military capabilities and free the hostages. The war began when thousands of Hamas terrorists rampaged through southern Israel, killing 1,200 people, and taking 253 others captive, including women and children. The Israeli counter-offensive has wrought massive destruction in the Gaza Strip, with more than 28,000 people killed, according to Gaza-based Hamas health officials. However, that figure cannot be independently verified and includes some 10,000 Hamas terrorists Israel says it has killed in battle. Israel also says it killed some 1,000 gunmen inside Israel on October 7, the Times of Israel reported. (ANI)

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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