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Hamas responded to US proposal for a cease-fire in Gaza and demanded complete cease-fire

Middle East
Talks to bring about a ceasefire and hostage deal that could stop the war in Gaza were thrown into doubt Tuesday evening when Israel characterized a Hamas response to the latest proposal as a rejection, precipitating a blame game between the two sides, CNN reports.
 
Hamas had submitted its response to Qatari mediators, proposing amendments to the Israeli proposal, including a timeline for a permanent ceasefire and complete Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, a source with knowledge of the talks told CNN earlier on Tuesday.
 
A diplomatic source familiar with ongoing negotiations, however, told CNN Wednesday that Hamas has neither accepted nor rejected the deal, and that framing the Hamas response as a rejection is misleading.
 
Talks are expected continue via the Qatari and Egyptian mediators in coordination with the United States to see if an agreement can be reached, the first source added.
 
After submitting its response Tuesday, Hamas spokesman and political bureau member Osama Hamdan told Lebanon-based TV Al Mayadeen, the group was committed to achieving a ceasefire. “Our response is a clear reaffirmation of our commitment to the ceasefire and withdrawal from Gaza, a commitment we have consistently upheld,” Hamdan added.
 
But in a potential sign of how Israel views the proposed amendments, one Israeli official described Hamas’ response to the original deal as a rejection.
 
“Israel received the Hamas answer from the mediators. In its response, Hamas rejected the outline of the deal for the release of the hostages presented by US President (Joe) Biden,” the official told CNN. Other news organizations report the same initial Israeli response.
 
Hamas leadership quickly pushed back on the claim as an attempt to back out of the proposal.
 
“The response of Hamas and the Palestinian factions to the truce proposal was responsible, serious and positive. The response is consistent with the demands of our people and the resistance and opens the way to reaching an agreement,” said Izzat al-Rishq, a member of the Hamas political bureau, late on Tuesday.
 
“The Israeli media’s incitement to Hamas’s response is an indication of attempts to evade the agreement’s obligations.” 
 
The tensions are surfacing at a sensitive moment. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is currently on a diplomatic swing through the region trying to secure agreement on the plan first unveiled by President Biden eleven days ago.
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