C.I.A. Director Blames Hamas for Stalled Cease-Fire Talks

By John Mercury April 19, 2024

Negotiations for a cease-fire and the release of Israeli hostages have stalled because Hamas rejected the latest proposal put forth by Israel, Qatar and Egypt, the C.I.A. director said Thursday, putting the blame for a lack of progress in talks squarely on the group that led the Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

Earlier this month, William J. Burns, C.I.A. director and lead American negotiator, traveled to Cairo and pushed what he called “a far-reaching proposal” that Egyptian and Qatari negotiators took to Hamas. The proposal contained an offer to allow some Gazans to return to the northern part of the enclave, a key Hamas demand.

While Mr. Burns did not describe the details of that proposal, he said that so far Hamas has not accepted it.

“It was a deep disappointment to get a negative reaction from Hamas,” said Mr. Burns, speaking at the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas. “Right now, it’s that negative reaction that really is standing in the way of innocent civilians in Gaza getting humanitarian relief that they so desperately need.”

Last Sunday, Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service, expressed regret that Hamas had rejected the proposal and argued it proved that the group was not interested in reaching a deal.

Other American officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive negotiations, have said Hamas has signaled that it does not have enough women and civilian hostages in its control to consummate the first part of the deal, which would release 40 hostages over six weeks in return for a large number of Palestinian prisoners.

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