US says Hamas seeks changes to ceasefire plan; Hamas denies proposing new ideas

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated on Wednesday that Hamas had suggested numerous changes, some impractical, to a U.S.-supported ceasefire proposal with Israel in Gaza. However, he affirmed that mediators remained committed to bridging the differences.

Osama Hamdan, a senior Hamas official, refuted these claims, denying that the Palestinian Islamist group had introduced new ideas.

In an interview with Al-Araby TV, Hamdan reiterated that Israel was the party rejecting proposals, accusing the U.S. administration of aligning with its close ally.

White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan noted that while many of Hamas’ proposed changes were minor and expected, others significantly diverged from the U.N. Security Council resolution supporting President Biden’s plan. “Our aim is to bring this process to a conclusion. Our view is that the time for haggling is over,” Sullivan told reporters.

According to two Egyptian security sources, Hamas is seeking written guarantees from the U.S. on the ceasefire plan. Late on Wednesday, Hamas issued a statement highlighting its “positivity” in the negotiations and urging the U.S. to pressure Israel into accepting an agreement that would lead to a permanent ceasefire in Gaza, complete withdrawal from the enclave, reconstruction, and the release of Palestinian prisoners.

The Palestinian group pointed out that although U.S. officials have claimed Israel accepted a ceasefire proposal outlined by Biden on May 31, “we have not heard any Israeli official confirm this acceptance.” Biden’s proposal envisions a truce and a phased release of Israeli hostages in Gaza in exchange for Palestinians jailed in Israel, ultimately aiming for a permanent end to the conflict.

Speaking at a press conference in Doha with Qatar’s prime minister, Blinken mentioned that some of Hamas’ counter-proposals sought to amend terms previously accepted in earlier discussions.