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US Says Hamas Seeking Changes As Gaza Ceasefire Plan Hangs In Balance

US, Blinken, Hamas, ceasrefire plan
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken shakes hands with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani at Lusail Palace in Doha, Qatar. REUTERS/Ibraheem Al Omari/Pool

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that Hamas had proposed changes to a US-backed proposal for a ceasefire in Gaza.  He added that mediators were determined to close the gaps.

Senior Hamas official Osama Hamdan said the Palestinian Islamist group had not put forward new ideas. He reiterated Hamas’ stance Al-Araby TV that it was Israel that was rejecting proposals. Hamdan accused the US administration of going along with its close ally to “evade any commitment” to a permanent ceasefire.

Hamas wants US to give written guarantees

White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said many of Hamas’ proposed changes were minor “and not unanticipated.” Others however differed from what was outlined in a UN Security Council resolution on Monday. The UNSC backed the plan put forward by President Biden.

Sullivan told reporters. “Our aim is to bring this process to a conclusion. Our view is that the time for haggling is over.”

Egyptian security sources told Reuters, Hamas wants the US to give written guarantees on the ceasefire plan.

US says Hamas is not cooperating.

Blinken said some of the counter-proposals from Hamas has sought to amend terms that it had accepted in previous talks. He said this at a press conference with Qatar’s prime minister in Doha,

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US claims Israel has accepted plan but Israel has not said so

Negotiators from the U.S., Egypt and Qatar have tried for months to mediate a ceasefire in the conflict to free the hostages. More than 100 hostages are believed to remain captive in Gaza.

Blinken said, “Hamas could have answered with a single word: Yes. Instead, Hamas waited nearly two weeks and then proposed more changes.” He added that a number of these changes go beyond positions that it had previously taken and accepted.

The US said Israel has accepted its proposal, but Israel has not publicly stated this.

Blinken said Washington would in coming weeks float ideas for a post-war Gaza administration and rebuilding of the enclave.

“We have to have plans for the day after the conflict ends in Gaza, and we need to have them as soon as possible.”

With inputs from Reuters