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Hamas signals opposition to latest hostage deal proposal as Israel awaits official response

Final response by Hamas expected on Thursday

People walking next to large pictures of Israeli women held hostage in the Gaza Strip as part of a protest calling for their release, near the Prime Minister's official residence in Jerusalem, May 2, 2024. (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Hamas’ position on the current hostage deal proposal is “negative,” Osama Hamdan, a senior Hamas member based in Lebanon told the Hezbollah-affiliated Lebanese TV outlet al-Manar on Wednesday.

While Hamas officials have often commented on the talks during prior negotiation rounds, a final and official response by the terror group has so far always been transmitted to Israel through Egyptian and Qatari mediators.

Despite being expected for Wednesday evening, no response had been received at the time of publication on Thursday morning.

The Hamas press office later clarified Hamdan’s remark, stating: “The negative position does not mean negotiations have stopped. There is a back-and-forth.”

On Wednesday afternoon, Arabic news channel al-Arabi reported that Egyptian officials expected Hamas leaders to answer in the next 24 hours.

“Hamas has before it a proposal that is extraordinarily, extraordinarily generous on the part of Israel,” U.S. State Secretary Antony Blinken said at a special meeting of the World Economic Forum held in Riyadh on Monday.

Israel’s Army Radio reported that among the main concessions offered by Israel is a withdrawal from the Netzarim Corridor bisecting the Gaza Strip, which has been held and defended by IDF troops continuously since the start of the ground operation in Gaza last October.

In his interview with al-Manar, Hamdan threatened that negotiations would be terminated if Israel would carry out its long-planned military incursion into Rafah, which Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu said would happen with or without a hostage deal being reached.

“The resistance does not negotiate under fire, Hamdan said, adding that “the enemy is trying to blackmail everyone with the Battle of Rafah.”

He also asserted that Hamas forces continue to fight the IDF, claiming, “The Zionist elite brigades collapsed in the Gaza Strip.”

Contradicting several reports over the past months, Hamdan noted that contact with Hamas’ leadership in the Gaza Strip, especially with Hamas leaders Yahya Sinwar and Muhammad Deif, remained intact.

“Communication between the leadership of the resistance in Gaza and the movement’s political bureau is continuous,” he stated.

Despite the ongoing negotiations, another senior Hamas member, Abd-al-Rahman Shadid, called on students at Palestinian universities in the West Bank to engage in armed struggles against Israeli forces.

“Lead the military confrontation with the occupation,” Shadid said. “We need to deny the Israeli enemy every minute of security in the West Bank until it cannot allow the settlement any more. The Palestinian people should confront the Jewish religious ceremonies in our holy sites, especially in the Al-Aqsa Mosque.”

He also praised students of Birzeit University near Ramallah, who attacked the German envoy to the Palestinian Authority, Oliver Owcza, during a museum visit on Wednesday.

During the incident, a crowd of students confronted the envoy over Germany’s support for Israel, causing him to flee as students vandalized his car and threw objects at him.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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