July 19, 2024
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US: Hamas Formally Rejected Hostage Deal

(JNS) An official in Washington on Tuesday, June 25 for the first time confirmed that Hamas’s response to the hostage deal outlined by U.S. President Joe Biden on May 31 amounted to a rejection.

“They came back several weeks ago and rejected the proposal that was on the table,” said U.S. State Department spokesman Matthew Miller.

Hamas “gave us a written response that rejected the proposal that had been put forward by Israel, that President Biden had outlined, that the United Nations Security Council and countries all around the world had endorsed,” he told reporters, according to a State Department readout.

Miller added that the administration wouldn’t release the text of the terror group’s response due to the sensitive nature of the talks, but confirmed it had received “a written rejection and counter-proposal.”

While Miller was the first U.S. official to describe Hamas’s June 11 reply as a rejection of the proposed framework, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken had previously said it included changes that were “not workable.”

“A deal was on the table that was virtually identical to the proposal that Hamas made on May 6—a deal that the entire world is behind, a deal Israel has accepted. Hamas could have answered with a single word: ‘Yes,’” the secretary stated at a June 12 press conference in Doha.

During a meeting with Blinken at the State Department on Monday, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant emphasized the need for all parties to put more pressure on Hamas to release the captives.

Prior to his meeting with U.S. officials, including CIA director William Burns, Gallant stated in Hebrew that “it is Israel’s primary commitment to return the hostages, with no exception, to their families and homes.”

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