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Report: Haniyeh accepted ceasefire deal, Sinwar rejected it

The leader of the Hamas terrorist organization, Ismail Haniyeh, accepted the proposed deal for a ceasefire in exchange for the release of Israeli hostages, but the organization’s leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, rejected it, the Wall Street Journal reported.

  • According to the report, Hamas has walked away from the ceasefire talks in Egypt and demanded greater concessions from Israel.

Haniyeh, who is based in Qatar, has reportedly been willing to accept a six-week pause in the fighting in order to secure greater humanitarian aid and possibly use that time to secure a permanent ceasefire that would leave Hamas in power in Gaza.

Sinwar, who has been hiding in Gaza for months, believes that more concessions can be wrung out of Israel due to political divisions within the country. Both Arab and Israeli officials fear that he is deliberately undermining the negotiations.

  • The US has pushed strongly for a six-week ceasefire to allow more humanitarian aid into Gaza and forestall an Israeli operation in Rafah, the last Hamas stronghold in Gaza, where the majority of the hostages are believed to be held.

Israel has demanded that Hamas provide lists of which hostages are still alive as part of the negotiations. Hamas has claimed that it does not have that information.

Source: Arutz Sheva

CIA chief visits region as Sinwar foils hostage deal

War cabinet convenes as hostage negotiations fail; Israeli official surprised by expected Biden announcement of pier to be established on Gaza shore to deliver aid.

CIA chief William Burns arrived in the region to visit Egypt and Qatar as the U.S. goes to great lengths to secure a hostage release deal in exchange for a cease-fire before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins early next week. Burns is not expected to visit Israel.

Israeli officials said that despite the efforts, they were not optimistic that an agreement with Hamas can be reached because the terror group does not want one.

  • “Hamas made the decision not to advance in the negotiations and to blame Israel for the hunger in Gaza, and to flood media outlets to turn them against Israel.”

The war cabinet convened on Thursday evening and will be followed by a meeting of the larger security cabinet.

  • The government was surprised to learn that U.S. President Joe Biden intended to announce in his State of the Union address later that the Americans would build an offshore pier to enable delivery of aid to Gaza.

The officials said they were aware that the Americans had already visited the Strip to identify the optimal location but were not informed of the findings or of the presidents intention to announce the move.

This is considered another sign of the increasing tensions between the administration and the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

On the matter of the hostage negotiations the officials said Israel was currently not involved in discussions. “Sinwar and Haniyeh understand that a deal would bring about a cease-fire and an influx of humanitarian aid which would improve conditions in the Strip, which is something they do not want,” the officials said.

  • “They believe that if there is no deal during the Muslim holiday, Israel’s standing in the world would suffer more. As far as we are concerned the rest is just theatre,” he said.

American officials also blamed Hamas for the failure of negotiations. “Hamas rejected the deal and refuses to release the old and infirmed hostages,” the officials said adding that the responsibility is on the terror group.

The Wall Street Journal in a report earlier in the day quoted Egyptian officials who said Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar believes he has the upper hand because of the internal political divisions within Israel and the increasing pressure of the U.S. administration on the Israelis to do more to ease the suffering of civilians in Gaza.

The Egyptians told the paper that Sinwar hopes for more favorable terms in the wake of the growing tension between Jerusalem and Washington and that he would be able to achieve an end to the fighting and a complete withdrawal of IDF troops.

  • The report cited Israeli and Arab sources who said Sinwar was “deliberately undermining the talks in the hope that Ramadan will galvanize popular Arab support for Hamas, leading to an escalation of tensions in the West Bank and Jerusalem.”

Source: Ynet News