Hamas seemed to dismiss a recent hostage deal framework agreed upon by Israel, asserting that they would not accept any arrangement without an end to the war and the withdrawal of all Israeli forces from Gaza.
The rejection came alongside a statement from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, emphasizing the need for Israel to cease its “aggression” and evacuate Gaza before any exchange deal could occur.
A senior Hamas official, Taher al-Nunu, stressed the group’s demand for a “complete and comprehensive ceasefire” in Gaza. He stated that once the hostilities cease, further discussions, including the release of hostages, could take place.
Earlier reports indicated that Israeli negotiators had agreed to a proposed framework for a hostage release deal in Paris. The deal, developed during discussions between the heads of Mossad, Shin Bet, and senior US, Qatari, and Egyptian officials, was presented to Hamas on Monday. The agreement aimed to release Israeli hostages gradually, starting with vulnerable groups, accompanied by “phased pauses” in Israel’s military operations against Hamas.
The proposal also included allowing more aid into Gaza and releasing a substantial number of Palestinian prisoners. While the framework did not provide for a permanent ceasefire, it did not rule one out.
Israeli officials expressed caution, stating that there was still a long road ahead. The Prime Minister’s Office neither confirmed nor denied the reported agreement, but mentioned that the details presented were unacceptable to Israel.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed optimism about the proposal, stating that good progress had been made. Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani also mentioned positive developments and suggested that an agreement might lead to a permanent ceasefire in the future.
CIA Director Bill Burns discussed the emerging agreement’s contours with Israeli intelligence officials and representatives from Qatar and Egypt in France. It is believed that 132 hostages abducted by Hamas in October are still held in Gaza, with Hamas demanding an end to the war and Israeli troop withdrawal as conditions for their release.
Negotiations continue, with the US expressing cautious optimism about the potential for a new hostage deal.