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Hamas: Any agreement stopping short of Gaza ceasefire ‘meaningless’

People and rescuers work to recover the dead body of a Palestinian trapped under the rubble of a house hit in an Israeli strike, in Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, on May 14, 2024. (Photo by Reuters)

A high-ranking member of the Palestinian Hamas resistance movement says it would be “meaningless” to conclude any agreement with the occupying Israeli regime unless Tel Aviv commits itself to a complete ceasefire in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Sami Abu Zuhri, a member of the Hamas movement's political bureau, further noted on Tuesday that Israeli captives will not see the light of day until the usurping entity complies with the conditions of the Gaza-based resistance groups.

He stressed that Israeli authorities must adhere to the conditions of the Palestinian resistance front, the foremost of which is an end to the ongoing aggression against Gazans.

Abu Zuhri pointed out that it is “the occupying regime” that “obstructs and impedes reaching an agreement.”

The remarks came on the same day that Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani stated that indirect negotiations aimed at securing a ceasefire in Gaza have reached a stalemate following the Israeli military’s aggression in the southern border city of Rafah.

“We had seen some momentum building in recent weeks, but unfortunately, things did not move in the right direction, and the events in Rafah have pushed us backward,” he said at an economic forum in Doha on Tuesday.

Sheikh Mohammed, whose Persian Gulf country has played a key role in mediating between Israel and Hamas during the seven-month conflict, reaffirmed Qatar’s commitment to mediation.

“We make it very clear for everyone: our role is strictly limited to mediation, and we will continue in this capacity,” he stated.

The primary sticking point in negotiations, according to Sheikh Mohammed, is the issue of the exchange of captives and the continuation of the war.

“There is one party that wants to end the war and then discuss the captives, and another that wants to secure the release of the captives while continuing the conflict. Without common ground on these issues, reaching an agreement will remain elusive,” the Qatari prime minister explained.

In defiance of warnings from the United Nations and other international organizations, Israel is preparing for a full-scale assault on Rafah, where more than 1.4 million displaced Palestinians are sheltering.

Israeli military operations have forced some 150,000 people to flee over the past week to areas devastated by previous attacks.

Israel launched its atrocious onslaught against the Gaza Strip, targeting hospitals, residences, and houses of worship since Palestinian resistance movements launched a surprise attack, dubbed Operation al-Aqsa Storm, against the usurping regime on October 7.

At least 35,173 Palestinians have been killed, most of them women and children, and another 79,061 individuals have sustained injuries. More than 1.7 million people have been internally displaced during the war as well.

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