Hamas Rejects Cease-Fire Proposal, Dashing Biden’s Hopes of Near Term Deal

Hamas officials said on Tuesday that there had been no breakthrough in the mediated talks with Israel aimed at pausing the war and freeing the remaining hostages in the Gaza Strip, one day after President Biden said he was hopeful that a cease-fire would be in place by next week.

Basem Naim, a Hamas spokesman, said in a text message that the militant group had yet to formally receive “any new proposals” since senior Israeli officials met with Qatari, Egyptian and U.S. mediators in Paris last week to advance a possible deal.

Another Hamas official, Ahmad Abdelhadi, said that the group was sticking to its demand that Israel agree to a long-term cease-fire and that leaks about the talks were designed to pressure Hamas to soften its position.

“We are not interested in engaging with what’s been floated, because it does not fulfill our demands,” Mr. Abdelhadi said Tuesday in a televised interview with al-Mayadeen, a Lebanese broadcaster.

Qatar, a key mediator in the talks, also expressed caution on Tuesday, saying it could not comment on Mr. Biden’s view that negotiators were nearing an agreement.

“The efforts are ongoing; all the parties are conducting regular meetings,” Majed al-Ansari, a spokesman for the Qatari foreign ministry, told reporters in Doha. “But for now, while we certainly hope it will be achieved as soon as possible, we don’t have anything in our hands so as to comment on that deadline.”

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