Hamas and Israel fail to reach ceasefire deal in Cairo

The Cairo talks had been billed as the final hurdle to reaching the war’s first prolonged ceasefire.

Ceasefire talks between Hamas and mediators broke down in Cairo on Tuesday without any progress, with just days left to stop the fighting in time for the start of Ramadan.

Bassem Naim, a senior Hamas official, told Reuters that the group had presented its proposed ceasefire agreement to mediators during two days of talks, and was now awaiting a response from the Israelis, who stayed away from the talks this round.

“Benjamin Netanyahu doesn’t want to make a deal and the ball is now in the Americans’ court” to pressure him for a deal, Naim said.

Israel has refused to comment publicly on the Cairo talks.

A source earlier told Reuters that Israel was staying away because Hamas had rejected its demand for a list of all hostages still alive. Naim indicated that this was impossible without a prior ceasefire, since the hostages were scattered throughout the war zone and in the hands of separate groups.

The Cairo talks had been billed as the final hurdle to reaching the war’s first prolonged ceasefire, a 40-day truce during which dozens of hostages would be freed and aid pumped into Gaza to prevent a famine caused by the man, before Ramadan, which will begin early next week.

Egyptian security sources said on Monday that they remained in contact with the Israelis so that negotiations could continue without the presence of an Israeli delegation.

Washington, Israel’s closest ally and sponsor of the ceasefire talks, has said that an agreement approved by the Jewish state is already on the table and that it is up to Hamas to accept it. The islamist group refutes this claim.

The United States has also called on Israel to do more to alleviate the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza, where Hamas says more than 30,000 people have been killed by the Israeli assault, launched after terrorist attacks that killed 1,200 people in October.

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