Ceasefire efforts: Blinken's Middle East tour amid Israel’s negative response

Ceasefire efforts: Blinken's Middle East tour amid Israel’s negative response

Shafaq News / On Wednesday, Hamas movement announced receiving Israel's stance regarding the proposal submitted by the mediators last week, describing it as "generally negative."

Osama Hamdan, a leader in the movement, stated, "The mediators conveyed to us last Tuesday evening the occupation's position on the proposal submitted by Hamas on Thursday, March 14."

"It was a negative response overall, not responsive to the demands of our people and their resistance... Rather, it retreated from previous agreements made through the intermediaries, persisting in a policy of procrastination that could hinder negotiations and perhaps lead them to a dead end."

He emphasized that "the movement presented its vision regarding the prisoner exchange file, demonstrating positivity and high flexibility, aiming to overcome obstacles to reaching an agreement and attempting to expedite the process to halt the massacres and genocide against our innocent civilian people."

Efforts to reach a ceasefire before the start of the holy month of Ramadan have failed. However, a new round of talks began last week based on a proposal from Hamas, initially focusing on a six-week truce in exchange for the release of hostages held by them and the release of Palestinian prisoners in Israel.

On Tuesday, the Qatari Foreign Ministry affirmed that discussions are ongoing between "technical teams" despite the departure of the Director of the Israeli Mossad, David Barnea, from Doha.

Since the outbreak of the war on October 7 following the Hamas attack on Israeli settlements and military bases in the Gaza Strip, Israel has imposed a suffocating blockade on the densely populated strip, preventing hundreds of relief trucks lined up at the Rafah border crossing with Egypt from entering. Additionally, the complex inspection procedures imposed by Israeli forces on aid trucks have hindered their entry.

The Israeli aggression has also displaced approximately 1.5 million people, leading tо the destruction оf infrastructure, hospitals, schools, and even UN facilities. The United Nations reports that the Gaza Strip іs currently experiencing famine conditions, exacerbated by Tel Aviv's rejection оf humanitarian aid through Rafah.

Tragically, dozens of children, including newborns in Gaza have died оf hunger so far.

In a parallel effort, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Jeddah on Wednesday, starting a new tour that will take him to Egypt on Thursday and Israel on Friday as part of efforts to reach a ceasefire agreement in Gaza.

Blinken is expected to hold talks with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whom he has met several times since the start of the conflict between Israel and Hamas, before heading to Egypt, the second stop in his Middle East tour.

The US State Department announced on Wednesday that Israel has been added to Blinken's sixth Middle East tour since October 7, with department spokesperson Matthew Miller stating that Secretary Blinken "will discuss with the Israeli government ongoing negotiations to secure the release of all hostages."

Simultaneously, talks for a new ceasefire continue in Doha through the US, Qatar, and Egypt.

Shafaq Live
Shafaq Live
Radio radio icon