Mon 04 Mar 2024 10:30 am - Jerusalem Time

Cairo negotiations on Gaza resume, and Netanyahu clings to concessions from Hamas

Egyptian media reported that ceasefire negotiations in the Gaza Strip will resume in Cairo on Monday after the end of the first day with the participation of Egypt, the United States, Qatar and the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas).

The Cairo News Channel quoted an unnamed high-level source as saying that the negotiations of the first day of the talks in Cairo, with the participation of the mediators and the Hamas movement, “have ended, and are expected to resume on Monday,” without mentioning further details.

Israel did not send its negotiating team yesterday, Sunday, to participate in the Cairo negotiations. In the last moments, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that he would not send a negotiating delegation to Cairo unless Hamas presented a list of the names of its living Israeli prisoners.

While Hamas believes that providing any details or information regarding its prisoners will not be without a price that Israel must pay in terms of alleviating the suffering of the people of the Gaza Strip and establishing a ceasefire.

Despite Cairo's optimism that an agreement will soon be reached before Ramadan, the talks are widely described as faltering, with wide gaps.

Netanyahu is stubborn

Netanyahu, who 53% of Israelis believe that political survival is pushing him to prolong the war, last evening again called on Hamas to make concessions before further negotiations.

He said in a speech in Tel Aviv on Sunday evening, “We are making great efforts to achieve success, but one thing is clear to you: we will not yield to the imaginary demands of Hamas,” indicating that it is too early to say whether there will be a strong framework for reaching an agreement in the next few days. 

Israeli Channel 12, citing sources in the War Council, revealed that Israel’s request for the names of living detainees is not official and was not approved by the Council. While Kan reported that the Council did not agree to submit this request to move forward with the negotiations.

Kan TV also quoted an official involved in the negotiations as saying, “This is an unnecessary step that makes it difficult to move the negotiations forward.”

Netanyahu's position on the negotiations was strengthened by the position of his partner in the ruling coalition, the extremist Israeli Minister of National Security, Itamar Ben Gvir, when he revealed that he had halted a framework agreement to release thousands of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Israeli prisoners in Gaza.

Ben Gvir considered that continuing to pressure Hamas through war and preventing the entry of aid would push it to release the Israelis detained in the Gaza Strip.

Regarding the Israeli dispute over the negotiations and the attempt to obstruct them by Netanyahu and members of his government, former Prisoners and Missing Persons Coordinator Yaron Blum expressed it in his statements to the Israeli website Reshet Beit, as he considered that Hamas’ refusal to “provide the names of the living kidnapped persons” is expected and cannot be obtained.

Bloom pointed out that Israel's demands are an attempt to "shift attention from Gaza to Al-Aqsa," calling on the government and its ministers to "reduce unnecessary statements about Al-Aqsa," because this affects the negotiations.

Insistence on demands

On the other hand, the American CNN channel quoted a senior diplomatic official as saying that Hamas wants Israel to agree to a permanent ceasefire.

The source indicated that it is very unlikely to reach an agreement, as the Israeli Kan channel explained that Israel, after dialogue with the mediators, estimates that the Hamas leadership in Gaza is involved in negotiations on the deal, meaning that the answers given by senior Hamas officials in their meetings are also based on Hamas’ position in Gaza.

In the same context, a leading Hamas source told Al Jazeera yesterday, Sunday, that the movement is working “for the return of our people to the areas from which they were displaced, especially in the north, and for a complete withdrawal of the occupation.”

The source confirmed that the movement’s delegation in Cairo does not care about “the arrival or non-arrival of the occupation delegation,” noting that Israel is managing the field and negotiating battles with confusion, confusion, and randomness.

The responsible source stressed in his statements to Al Jazeera that Hamas has not announced specific dates for reaching a ceasefire agreement.

According to Hebrew and international media, the mediators are currently seeking to reduce the areas of disagreement between the two parties regarding the details of the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and the identity of the detainees from both sides who are scheduled to be released.


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Cairo negotiations on Gaza resume, and Netanyahu clings to concessions from Hamas