Photo Credit: Official State Department photo by Chuck Kennedy
Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani in Doha, Qatar, June 12, 2024.

An Israeli source involved in the hostage negotiations on Wednesday night told Kan11 News that Hamas’s response to the Biden outline for the release of hostages is more severe than the answer the terrorist group gave in early May.

Among other things, Hamas now demands that China, Russia, and Turkey be the guarantors for the agreement, a condition that did not appear in the previous drafts submitted by the parties. This demand is not acceptable to Israel or the United States, which are not interested in letting any of these countries get a foot in the door in the negotiations.


The PA news agency WAFA reported that overnight Thursday, Israel launched intensive air strikes and artillery bombardment, by air, land, and sea, against the al-Mawasi area west of Rafah city in the southern enclave, where thousands of internally displaced persons are seeking shelter. The Israeli Navy boats also fired heavy machine guns into the western areas of Rafah.

Those were considered “humanitarian” zones, where thousands of civilians have fled. The attack––yet to be confirmed by the IDF––likely suggests that Israel obtained intelligence about the presence of Hamas leaders among the multitudes of displaced Gazans.

Earlier it was reported that the leaders of the G7 countries – the US, the UK, Canada, Germany, France, and Italy, pressure Hamas to agree to the Biden proposal, and also pressure Israel to reduce its military activity in Rafah and the rest of the Gaza Strip.

The same G7 countries also want Israel to recognize a Palestinian State as part of the efforts to end the Gaza war.

Nevertheless, an Israeli source and a foreign source, both well aware of the negotiations, told Haaretz on Wednesday that the negotiations have not exploded and that they estimate the talks will continue.

According to one of these sources, “The answer submitted by Hamas contained amendments, including a timetable for a permanent ceasefire and the complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Gaza Strip, including Rafah. The talks will now continue through the Qatari and Egyptian mediators in coordination with the US, to see if an agreement can be reached.”

However, it is not clear if and when an Israeli team will go to Qatar or Cairo.

Another senior Israeli official told Haaretz that Hamas’s reservations reflect, in effect, opposition to the deal. In the official Israeli response, it was stated that “Hamas rejected in its response the outline presented by the US president.” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office claimed that this was a “negative answer on the issue of the release of the abductees.”

On Wednesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated that he would persist in urgently pushing for a ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas. However, he noted that a counterproposal put forward by Hamas contained demands that were deemed unacceptable.

“In the days ahead, we are going to push on an urgent basis to try and close this deal,” Blinken said at a news conference in Qatar, noting that “a deal was on the table that was virtually identical” to the one Hamas put submitted on May 6. But in the latest Hamas response, Blinken noted, “Some of the changes are workable, some are not,” which led him to suggest that, “you have to question whether they’re proceeding in good faith or not.”

Imagine that, a terrorist organization dedicated to rape, murder, and the beheading and burning of babies is not negotiating in good faith. You can’t trust anyone anymore.

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