US claims Hamas has proposed “numerous changes” to Gaza ceasefire proposal

“Hamas has proposed numerous changes to the proposal that was on the table” for a permanent ceasefire and release of the hostages, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has claimed.

“Some of the changes are workable. Some are not,” Blinken said at a news conference in Doha. He did not immediately provide details on Hamas’ proposed changes.

“We discussed those changes last night with Egyptian colleagues and today with the Prime Minister,” Blinken stated after meeting with the Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al-Thani.

The top US diplomat reiterated that the proposed deal “was virtually identical” to a proposal that Hamas previously accepted.

“Hamas could have answered with a single word – yes,” he added.

Blinken noted while he believes the current gaps are “bridgeable”, it doesn’t mean they will be closed, saying it “ultimately depends on people saying yes.”

“It’s time for the haggling to stop and a ceasefire to start,” he added.

It is “crucial” to move from an “immediate ceasefire” in Gaza “to an enduring end” to the war, he continued.

Qatari officials also stressed Hamas and Israel’s fundamental differences need to be bridged to bring an end to the war in Gaza.

“We have seen the behavior from both parties (Israel and Hamas) on different occasions being counterproductive to the efforts; while we are respecting our role as mediator, we are trying our best not to consider ourselves as, you know, the party of that conflict,” Al-Thani said on Wednesday.

Al-Thani added the Qatari’s had been struggling “for a very long time” trying to work out how to bridge the “two fundamental differences between what Hamas wants as a permanent ceasefire, and what Israel wants as a hostage release and maybe a plan to continue the war”.

“What we are aiming for is one specific goal is to end the war, to end the suffering of the people in Gaza, and to get the hostages back.”

Washington had presented the plan late last month, saying that it would lead to an “enduring” ceasefire in Gaza.

Hamas submitted its response jointly with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad on Tuesday, describing it as “responsible” and “positive”.

When US President Joe Biden announced the multi-phased proposal on May 31, he stated it would include the withdrawal of Israeli soldiers from Gaza and a permanent cessation of hostilities.

More than 37,000 Palestinians have been killed in the war in Gaza and about 85,000 others injured, according to data provided by the Ministry of Health in the enclave.

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