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Hamas Sends Response to Ceasefire Proposal, Israel Still Silent

The Hamas response to the U.S. ceasefire proposal remains ambiguous, while Israel is still silent on it. In a statement issued yesterday, Hamas and Islamic Jihad said that they had sent a joint response to the mediators from Egypt and Qatar. “‘The response puts the priority to the interest of our Palestinian people, the necessity to completely stop the ongoing aggression on Gaza, and the withdrawal [of occupation forces] from the entire Gaza Strip,’ the statement said. ‘The Palestinian delegation voiced willingness to deal positively in order to reach an agreement that ends this war against our people, out of the sense of national responsibility,’” The Hill quoted the statement as saying.

The United States said it was still “evaluating” the Hamas response. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office didn’t release an official reply, but an anonymous Israeli official issued a statement that Hamas’s response had “changed all of the main and most meaningful parameters,” amounting to a rejection of the proposal on the table, the Times of Israel reported this morning. The Times of Israel added that if the changes are deemed within reason, the mediators will likely encourage the parties to try and meet halfway in a process that will likely take at least another week, given the time it has taken for Hamas officials abroad to deliver messages to the decision-making leadership in tunnels deep below Gaza.

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