Israel ‘not serious’ about reaching ceasefire deal: Hamas

The Cradle, June 4, 2024 — 

Israeli ministers are seeking to fight an ‘eternal war,’ families of the Israeli captives in Gaza say.

Senior Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri stated on 4 June that Israel was not serious about reaching a ceasefire deal in Gaza and was maneuvering under US cover to extend the war.

Reuters reported that Abu Zuhri criticized Washington’s call for the Palestinian resistance movement to accept a ceasefire deal proposed by Israeli negotiators and announced by US President Joe Biden last Friday, saying it was “as if it is Hamas who is hampering the deal.”

The Israeli proposal announced by Biden includes three phases to end the war on Gaza, which has killed some 37,000 Palestinians and created famine conditions in many parts of the strip.

The offer calls for a ceasefire, the release of Israeli captives held by Hamas and Palestinian captives held by Israel in its prisons, and the reconstruction of Gaza.

Following Biden’s remarks on Friday, Hamas said it had a positive view of the proposal’s contents.

The US said on Sunday that if Hamas accepted the proposed plan, it expected Israel to follow through.

“This was an Israeli proposal. We have every expectation that if Hamas agrees to the proposal, as was transmitted to them, an Israeli proposal, that Israel would say yes,” White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told ABC News.

In this context, a leader in the Hamas movement told Al Mayadeen that the movement would not send a delegation to Cairo on Wednesday for new negotiations starting from “point zero” again after agreeing to the previous proposal. He added, “Our basic condition now is that we obtain official, declared, and explicit Israeli approval for the previous proposal; otherwise, it is not possible to enter into rounds and discussions from scratch.”

He expressed surprise at “the US administration’s constant request from the mediators to agree first while the Israeli side does not agree,” and therefore, “we will not discuss any proposal unless there is Israeli approval for it first.”

Among Israelis, Palestinians, and the US, there is a growing consensus that Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu and his fellow ministers do not want any end to the war, even at the cost of the lives of Israelis held captive in Gaza by Hamas.

Channel 12 reported that after the Israeli army announced on Monday that four more Israeli captives held by Hamas had died, families of the captives accused the government of “wanting the war to continue forever” and that they were “ready to sacrifice the prisoners.”

Many of the 240 Israeli soldiers and civilians taken captive by Hamas on 7 October have been killed by the same Israeli bombing of Gaza that has killed over 37,000 Palestinians in the past seven months.

The families’ statement called on Netanyahu to “go out to the public and announce his acceptance of the deal,” noting that there are parties in the government that “want eternal war.”

In an interview with Time Magazine on 28 May, US President Joe Biden also suggested that Netanyahu is seeking to prolong the war.

Asked whether he thought Netanyahu wanted to extend the war for his own political reasons, Biden said: “There is every reason for people to draw that conclusion.”

Ministers in Netanyahu’s governing coalition, Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben Gvir, have made clear they want the war to continue. They wish to ethnically cleanse Gaza and annex it to Israel for its gas resources and its land, which they want for future Jewish colonization.

Both have indicated they may leave the governing coalition if a ceasefire is reached, forcing Netanyahu to call for new elections and possibly lose power. Netanyahu is currently under investigation on corruption charges, which may result in imprisonment if he loses his position as prime minister.

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