Israeli official tells Hamas no cease-fire will happen before hostage deal

YnetNews.com reports: “A senior member of the Israeli negotiating team working to reignite talks for a hostage release deal commented Friday on Hamas’s statement released Thursday saying the terror group would agree to continue negotiations only if a permanent cease-fire is reached. ‘There will be no cease-fire or pause in fighting that isn’t part of a deal to release the hostages,’ the senior official told Ynet.

The Gaza-based terrorist organization acknowledged the new Israeli deal proposal on Thursday, saying that it would not take part in talks while fighting in Gaza continued. ‘Today we informed the mediators of our clear position that if the occupation stops its war and aggression against our people in Gaza, we would be willing to reach a comprehensive exchange deal,’ Hamas said in a statement.

‘We’ve demonstrated flexibility and have been positive during all the rounds of the indirect negotiations and on May 6, we accepted the proposal of a mediator,’ Hamas said. ‘The occupation used the negotiations as a cover for continued aggression and massacre against the Palestinian people and responded to our agreement [to the terms,] by invading Rafah and occupying the Rafah border crossing.’

The senior Israeli official said in response, ‘If they think they will receive a cease-fire before the implementation of a deal or a part of it, they’re mistaken. It won’t happen. Israel is fighting in Gaza and continues to do so, and if they want a cease-fire for the sake of Gaza residents, it must happen only as part of the negotiation of a hostage release deal.’…”

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