Israel pulls out of peace talks in Cairo over ‘delusional’ Hamas demands

Washington: Israel has pulled out of the middle east peace talks in Cairo dealing a serious blow to the on-going truce negotiations to end the war, blaming Hamas’ “delusional demands” and a lack of new proposals.

The talks aimed at ending fighting in the conflict zone in Gaza and freeing more than 100 remaining hostages did not yield the expected breakthrough but were extended for three more days before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opted to recall his negotiating team, Israeli media outlets reported Wednesday.

“Israel did not receive in Cairo any new proposal from Hamas on the release of our hostages,” Netanyahu’s office said in a statement. “A change in Hamas’ positions will allow the negotiations to advance,” he said.

Netanyahu also released a video statement saying “strong military pressure and firm negotiations” are the keys to getting the captives released, the Times of Israel reported.

Senior Hamas official Osama Hamdan blamed Netanyahu, telling a leading news media in the US that Israel’s proposal veered away from agreements the parties had previously reached. Families of the hostages called Netanyahu’s decision a “death sentence” for their loved ones, who have been held by militants in Gaza for more than 130 days.

Issues which the media says is preventing a deal is Israel’s pledge to crush Hamas and remain in charge of security in Gaza after the war and Hamas’ demands of a permanent cease-fire and the withdrawal of all Israeli troops from the war-torn territory, USA TODAY said.

The latest developments in the Middle East :

The State Department has confirmed the death of 17-year-old Palestinian American Mohammad Ahmad Khdour in the West Bank and called for an investigation. The Washington Post reported he was shot in the head. He’s the second US citizen, both teenagers, to be killed in the occupied territory since the war started.

US forces carried out an airstrike on an anti-cruise missile in a part of Yemen controlled by the Houthis, the rebel group that for months has launched attacks on commercial and Navy ships in the Red Sea, according to US Central Command.

Family members of hostages held in Gaza as well as former captives were in the Netherlands on Wednesday to file a legal complaint seeking the International Criminal Court to arrest and prosecute the leaders of Hamas.

More than 28,500 people, mostly women and children, are claimed to have been killed in Gaza since October 7, when Hamas launched an attack on Israel, killing about 1,200 people and taking more than 240 hostages, triggering the war.

The Israeli military said on X it “located and struck” Hamas infrastructure, including tunnel shafts, but did not say where. At least 10 militants were killed, the Israel Defence Forces said.

Thousands of Palestinians protected from US deportation: About 6,000 Palestinians living in the US will avoid deportation for 18 months, thanks to a programme President Joe Biden invoked Wednesday, the New York Times reported.

The programme, called Deferred Enforced Departure, allows citizens of countries in crisis to remain and work in the US.

The Times cited a memo in which Biden said many Palestinian civilians are in danger because of the war in Gaza, so he granted authority for some who are in the US to stay.

Biden recently sent a group of top advisers to Michigan, a battleground state with the second-largest number of Arab Americans in the nation, to mend fences with members of that community embittered by his handling of the war.

IANS

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