Israel Opts Out Of Gaza Talks In Cairo, Contradicting Prior White House Optimism

 It was only on Saturday that the White House issued optimistic statements saying Israel has already "basically accepted" a six week ceasefire proposal in Gaza. But the Biden administration's rosy assessment that a truce is 'near' has once again been utterly contradicted by Israeli actions.

CNN now writes, "On Sunday, Israel decided not to send a delegation to Egypt for talks on a deal for a ceasefire and release of hostages from Gaza, an Israeli official told CNN." It was only days ago that Biden issued his remarks saying a ceasefire is likely "by Monday" - but now as of the weekend Israel isn't so much as even participating in the Cairo talks.

Families of the hostages have been outraged that a new hostage/prisoner exchange deal has not been reached. Image via AP.

CNN's source says the Israeli delegation has stayed home because time had run out for Hamas to respond to the following two Israeli demands:

  • a list of hostages, specifying which are alive and which are dead
  • confirmation of the ratio of Palestinian prisoners to be released from Israeli prisons in exchange for hostages

The Netanyahu government said days ago said that this next round of talks would be conditioned on Hamas verifying ahead of time the names and current condition of all hostages.

Israel has said it believes 130 hostages abducted on Oct.7 remain in captivity, but the tragic reality is that some or many may have already been killed.

While Israel has not sent its negotiators, Hamas has arrived in Cairo Sunday, a senior Hamas official told CNN. Per the same report, Hamas wants the following:

  • A permanent ceasefire
  • The withdrawal of what the source called “occupation forces” — that is, Israeli troops — from the Gaza Strip
  • The return of displaced people from the south to the north of the strip

But Prime Minister Netanyahu has repeatedly called the demand for a complete military withdrawal "delusional".

The Times of Israel and other local sources have also confirmed that Israel is not sending negotiators:

According to Channel 12, the war cabinet and the professional echelon all agreed that there was no point in sending a delegation to Egypt for ongoing talks given Hamas’s response.

Israel has said that 31 of the 130 hostages held since October 7 are dead. The first phase of the mooted deal is reported to provide for the release of 40 of the living hostages, including women, children, the elderly and the sick, in the course of a six-week truce, and in exchange for some 400 Palestinian security prisoners. The outline reportedly provides for negotiations on the further phased release of the remaining hostages, living and dead, in return for longer pauses in the fighting and many more Palestinian prisoner releases.

Meanwhile, just last Tuesday...

All of this means there is a greater likelihood the Israel assault on Rafah will proceed, which many international officials have warned against, given the southern city is packed with well over one million refugees, many of which are living in tents and makeshift structures.

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