Hamas says Blinken part of problem in Gaza ceasefire negotiations

The Palestinian movement Hamas has slammed remarks by US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken blaming the group for the Gaza ceasefire stalemate, stressing the remarks show he’s part of the problem and not the solution to the conflict.

Osama Hamdan, the senior Hamas representative in Lebanon, stated that the Israeli occupation is the one hindering the ceasefire in Gaza.

“We told the mediators that the side rejecting the proposals is the Israeli side,” he said in an interview with the Al-Araby television on Wednesday.

“The American administration is complicit with Israel in evading any commitment to a permanent ceasefire proposal,” he added.

Blinken had earlier on Wednesday criticized Hamas’s response to the ceasefire plan outlined by US President Joe Biden and said some of the group’s demands are not workable.

“We believe that some of the requested changes are workable and some are not,” Blinken told reporters in Doha, adding they would continue to work to seal a ceasefire agreement, but that the onus was on Hamas.

The plan Biden laid out on May 31 calls for an Israeli withdrawal from “major population centers” and a ceasefire for six weeks, which could then be extended if negotiators need more time to seek a permanent deal.

Hamas has reportedly proposed amendments including a clear ceasefire timeline and the complete withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza, according to sources.

In his remarks, Blinken also said that they’ll put forward proposals for the administration of Gaza following the ongoing war in the coming weeks.

Blinken added the proposals would cover how to handle Gaza governance, security, and reconstruction.

Hamdan rejected Blinken’s remarks on planning for the governance of post-war Gaza, saying that the “day after the war will be a Palestinian day in which we will decide our reality and our future”.

The Hamas official stated they demand guarantees from the mediators to prevent the Israeli occupation from evading its responsibilities.

“The Israeli proposal seeks a temporary ceasefire to catch its breath before resuming the war,” he stressed, referring to the Biden plan, which the US says has the regime’s support.

Hamas has also belied Blinken’s claim that the Israeli regime has “accepted” Biden’s proposal aimed at bringing about a truce in Tel Aviv’s ongoing genocidal war against the besieged enclave.

“While Blinken continues to talk about Israel’s approval of the latest proposal, we have not heard any Israeli official speak of this approval,” Hamas announced.

The group said the US top diplomat was trying to “exonerate the Zionist occupation, wash his hands stained with the blood of innocent children, women, and the elderly, and hold the movement responsible for obstructing conclusion of an agreement”.

This, Hamas added, amounted to “a continuation of the American policy of complicity in the brutal genocide war against our Palestinian people, and allowing the occupation to continue its crime with full American political and military cover”.

The movement finally called on Washington to rather “apply direct pressure on the fascist occupation government, which is determined to complete the mission of killing and genocide, in flagrant violation of all international laws and treaties.”

Hamas official Taher Al-Nunu has also accused Blinken of bias, saying that the top US diplomat has been acting like he is Israel’s foreign minister since the start of the war.

“He lacks neutrality. He lacks even-handedness. He operates with double standards. He is trying to portray the [Palestinian] resistance as if it is the party obstructing the deal,” Al-Nunu told Al Jazeera Mubasher later on Wednesday.

He said Hamas accepted the proposal presented by Qatar and Egypt on May 6 as it is, and it was Israel that added amendments to it. Hamas’s response on Tuesday was counter-revisions to some of the Israeli changes, Al-Nunu added.

According to Al-Nunu, Hamas’s notes aimed to ensure that Israel would not renege on the deal and resume the war after the first phase, which would see the release of some of its captives in Gaza.

Asked whether Hamas would be flexible about demands labelled “not workable” by Blinken, Al-Nunu stated it is “normal” for negotiating parties to accept or reject amendments to a proposal.

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