Israeli Cabinet shuts down NDMT operations in the country: Gaza War Live Updates
Demonstrations in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Saturday demanding an agreement to release hostages held by Hamas.credit…Amir Levi/Getty Images

Groups representing families of Israeli hostages in the Gaza Strip said Sunday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is under pressure from hard-line members of his ruling coalition to delay or even block a deal that could lead to a ceasefire. expressed concern. Fires and release of prisoners by Hamas.

The major stalemate in negotiations comes after Hamas has consistently demanded commitments from Israel to end its seven-month military offensive in Gaza and halt plans to invade Rafah, Hamas’ last stronghold in the southern enclave. Israel is reluctant to make a declaration. Sources said it was such a concession.

In talks in Cairo brokered by the United States, Qatar and Egypt, negotiators sought to leave room for ambiguity in the early stages of a three-stage deal that would satisfy both sides.

But on Saturday, the Israeli government issued two statements to reporters, attributed to anonymous “political officials,” saying that contrary to reports, Israel would not agree to end the war as part of the deal. Stated. He also said he would not allow mediators to give Hamas guarantees about ending the war and accused Hamas of cutting off any possibility of an agreement by sticking to his demands.

Several Israeli reporters who received the statement said it came directly from the prime minister’s office in an unusual violation of government confidentiality rules.

Prominent political columnist Nahum Barnea said in a Sunday column in the popular Hebrew-language daily Yediot Aronaut that he felt the statement was “aimed at destroying the possibility of an agreement.”

The Hostage Families Forum, an Israeli non-governmental group lobbying for the release of the hostages and support for their families, said in a statement on Sunday that it was “shocked” to hear the statement. The group called on Netanyahu to “ignore all political pressure”, “take the lead” and “show courage”.

Barnea said he believed Netanyahu would be relieved “of the need to decide” on a deal if he could persuade Hamas, mediators and far-right members of the government that a deal was not on the table. .

In a lengthy statement in his own name on Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vehemently rejected the accusations, saying Hamas was the party that sabotaged the deal. He said: “Israel was and is prepared to pause the fighting to free the hostages.”

Details of a potential deal are still being worked out, but Egypt, with the broad approval of Israeli negotiators, will begin with a six-week cease-fire, during which it will hold the most vulnerable hostages held in Gaza. It is pushing ahead with proposals that would see 33 people detained. He was released in exchange for hundreds of Palestinians imprisoned by Israel.

Israel will allow hundreds of thousands of displaced Palestinian civilians to return to northern Gaza with few restrictions, officials said, a move that has so far been a major bottleneck for Israel.

Hussam Badran, a senior Hamas official, said on Saturday that Hamas representatives arrived in Cairo “very positive” about the latest proposal. However, Hamas officials told the Arabic News Agency that issues such as a permanent ceasefire or a complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza remain unresolved. By early Sunday, there was still no sign that Hamas had accepted the agreement.

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