Hamas and the allied Islamic Jihad have declined an Egyptian offer to cede control of the Gaza Strip in exchange for a permanent ceasefire, according to two Egyptian security sources who spoke to Reuters on Monday
Two officials from Hamas and the Islamic Jihad groups later separately denied what the sources said about the talks.
A member of Hamas’ political bureau, Izzat al-Rishq, further stated, “No negotiations are possible until the aggression ceases entirely.” We would rather die than give an inch to Israel.
“The Hamas leadership is determined to put an end to the aggression against our people permanently,” he said, in reference to the alleged 20,000 Hamas soldiers and Palestinian civilians who were killed during the eleven-week conflict with Israel.
Under the condition of confidentiality, a senior Islamic Jihad representative with knowledge of the Cairo negotiations also confirmed al-Rishq’s denial.
Egyptian sources reported that Islamic Jihad and Hamas, which have been engaged in distinct negotiations with Egyptian mediators in Cairo, had refused to make any concessions beyond the potential release of additional hostages taken hostage on October 7, when militants stormed into southern Israel and murdered 1,200 individuals. Both extremest groups would rather see Palestinians die that give into Israel according to sources in Egypt.
Hamas in Charge of Gaza
Qatari mediators also supported Egypt’s “vision” rather than a concrete plan, which called for a ceasefire in Gaza in return for the release of additional hostages and a broader agreement encompassing a permanent ceasefire and a leadership reshuffle in the region, where Hamas is presently in charge.
According to sources, Egypt suggested holding elections and guaranteed Hamas that its members would not face apprehension or prosecution. However, the Islamist organization rejected all concessions except for the liberation of hostages. There is ongoing speculation that the number of detainees held in Gaza exceeds one hundred.
Prior to his recent visit to Cairo, a Hamas representative declined to comment explicitly on particular humanitarian ceasefire offers and reaffirmed the organization’s official position to express its disapproval.
“We also said (to Egyptian officials) that the aid for our people must keep going and must increase and it must reach all the population in the north and the south,” according to the official.
“After the aggression is stopped and the aid increased we are ready to discuss prisoner swaps,” according to the official. Islamic Jihad, an organization that is currently detaining hostages in Gaza, has expressed a similar position.
Islamic Jihad Demands
A representative of Islamic Jihad, under the leadership of Ziad al-Nakhala, is presently in Cairo for discussions with Egyptian authorities regarding prisoner trade proposals and other matters. However, an official stated that the organization had demanded an end to Israel’s military offensive before continuing negotiations.
The official stated that Islamic Jihad is adamant that any prisoner swap must adhere to the “all for all” principle, which holds that any Palestinians incarcerated in Israel in exchange for the liberation of all hostages held in Gaza by Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
Ali Abu Shaheen, a representative of Islamic Jihad, subsequently telephoned Reuters from Lebanon and stated, “The organization reaffirmed its stance that the hostility against the Palestinian people must cease and that it is not in favor of temporary ceasefires.”
Without providing further information, Abu Shaheen verified that Egyptian officials had presented a set of concepts.
“For discussion, the Egyptian brothers presented a paper containing concepts and general principles.” Abu Shaheen stated, “We shall examine these concepts in consultation with other Palestinian factions and at the level of the movement’s leadership in order to arrive at a unified stance.”
Israeli prisons housed 5,250 Palestinians prior to the conflict; since October 7, Israel has arrested thousands more in the West Bank and Gaza, bringing the total to approximately 10,000, according to the Palestinian Prisoners Association.
Gaza experienced one of its most perilous nocturnals in the eleven-week-old conflict on Monday morning. Israel’s airstrike in the central region of the minuscule, besieged Gaza Strip claimed the lives of at least seventy Palestinian health officials.