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Hamas says latest Israeli position on Gaza truce 'generally negative'

By AFP - Mar 20,2024 - Last updated at Mar 20,2024

BEIRUT — A senior Lebanon-based Hamas official said on Wednesday that Israel's response to the latest proposal from the Palestinian group for a six-week truce in Gaza was "generally negative", as talks continued in Qatar.

Osama Hamdan told a news conference in Beirut that mediators had conveyed the Israeli position a day earlier, but it was "generally negative and does not respond to the aspirations of our people".

He said the Israeli response "constitutes a step backwards" compared with previously communicated positions and "is likely to hamper negotiations, and could lead to an impasse".

Last week, Hamas proposed a six-week truce and the release of about 42 hostages in exchange for 20 to 50 Palestinian prisoners per hostage.

Hamdan's remarks came as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken landed in Saudi Arabia as part of a regional tour to discuss efforts to secure a Gaza truce that includes a stop in Israel.

Global concern has mounted over the military conflict now in its sixth month, in which Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to destroy Hamas in response to its October 7 sudden attack.

Just days ago, Hamdan had said Palestinian fighters would accept a partial Israeli withdrawal before exchanging prisoners, easing previous demands for a complete pullout from Gaza.

 

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