Hamas accepted ceasefire proposal, Israel said unacceptable

    Only hours after Israel ordered the evacuation of parts of Rafah, Hamas announced it would accept the proposed ceasefire proposal. State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller reiterated that the United States could not support an operation in Rafah. IDF says they're still operating in the Gaza Strip.

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    The U.S. is reviewing Hamas’s ceasefire response

    The United States is studying Hamas’s response to a ceasefire proposal and will discuss it with allies in the Middle East in the coming hours, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said.

    “I can confirm that Hamas has issued a response. We are reviewing that response now and discussing it with our partners in the region,” Miller said on Monday afternoon, confirming that a response was received in the last hour or 90 minutes and that discussions would take place in the coming hours.

    CIA director Bill Burns is in the region “working on this in real time,” Miller said.

    The Hamas announcement came hours after Israel ordered the evacuation of parts of Rafah, the city on Gaza’s southern edge that has served as the last sanctuary for around half of Gaza’s 2.3 million residents.

    That appeared to signal that an operation on Rafah will go ahead, despite Washington’s repeated warnings, including by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on a visit to Israel last week, where he also focused on increasing humanitarian aid to Gaza. Miller reiterated that the United States could not support an operation in Rafah “as it is currently envisioned” by Israel.

    “A Rafah operation would make it incredibly difficult to sustain the increases in humanitarian assistance that we have been able to deliver over the past few weeks,” Miller said.

    White House spokesperson John Kirby told reporters: “We want to get these hostages out, we want to get a ceasefire in place for six weeks, we want to increase humanitarian assistance,” Kirby said, adding that reaching an agreement would be the “absolute best outcome.””

    The US is committed to stopping an invasion of Rafah

    Israel still plans to proceed with a 90-day plan to invade Rafah, which Washington is committed to stopping, a U.S. official familiar with truce negotiations between Hamas and Israel told Reuters on Monday.

    “Netanyahu and the war cabinet have not appeared to approach the latest phase of negotiations (with Hamas) in good faith,” the official told Reuters, asking not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter.

    IDF: ‘We are still operating in the Gaza Strip’

    Israel’s military spokesperson said all proposals regarding negotiations to free hostages in Gaza are examined seriously and that in parallel it continues to operate in Gaza, Ari Rabinovitch writes.

    Asked during a media briefing whether Hamas saying it accepted a ceasefire proposal would impact a planned offensive in Rafah, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said: “We examine every answer and response in the most serious manner and are exhausting every possibility regarding negotiations and returning the hostages.”

    “In parallel, we are still operating in the Gaza Strip and will continue to do so,” he said.

    No agreement over ceasefire proposal

    An Israeli official said no ceasefire had been agreed in Gaza, after Hamas said it had accepted a proposal from Egyptian and Qatari mediators over the Israel-Gaza conflict.

    The Israeli official said the proposal that Hamas had accepted was a “softened” version of an Egyptian proposal, which included “far-reaching” conclusions that Israel could not accept.


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