Israeli source says hostage deal efforts halted by Netanyahu, US disagrees – NYT

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s renewed statements about an invasion of Rafah pushed Hamas to harden its demands after the two sides got close to reaching a deal a few days ago, The New York Times reported on Monday, citing an unnamed Israeli official.

According to the anonymous source, Hamas was now demanding additional guarantees that Israel would not resume fighting and launch an invasion of Rafah after any agreement. The cited official added that Hamas and Israel had shifted to playing a “blame game” and that the negotiations had stalled and were in “crisis.”

In contrast to the Israeli source, two unnamed US officials told the New York Times that the talks weren’t actually at an impasse and that the two sides were still reviewing the details of the most recent proposals.

The Israeli source added that Israel was waiting for a written response from Hamas before sending a delegation to Cairo, but had still not received such a response.

Families of Israelis held hostage by Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip call for their release outside the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, May 5, 2024 (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

Senior Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzouk told the New York Times that Hamas had wanted Israel present at the talks and was still demanding that any ceasefire be “permanent and fixed.”

Conflicting reports concerning the status of hostage deal talks

On Sunday, Hamas announced that its delegation to talks in Cairo had completed discussions with mediators and was returning to Doha to consult with the movement’s leadership. Media reports about the status of the talks have been conflicted, with some reports claiming the talks have collapsed and others saying there’s been significant progress toward reaching a deal.