March 7, 2024 | Flash Brief

Cairo Truce Talks Falter as Hamas Stalls

March 7, 2024 | Flash Brief

Cairo Truce Talks Falter as Hamas Stalls

Latest Developments

The latest round of Israel-Hamas ceasefire talks ended fruitlessly on March 7, with Hamas failing to provide details on hostages it holds in Gaza. The Palestinian terrorist group recalled its delegation from Cairo after four days of negotiations with Egyptian and Qatari mediators. Unlike previous rounds of talks, Israel had not sent its own delegation to Egypt. Jerusalem sources said there was no point in doing so in the absence of information about the hostages, including a list of those slated for release and their condition, as well as the number of jailed Palestinian terrorists whom Hamas wants freed in return.

Hamas, meanwhile, stuck with its demand that any hostage release follow an Israeli commitment to end the now five-month-old war, withdraw forces from Gaza, and enable unrestricted Palestinian movement and reconstruction in the enclave. Washington has been leaning on Doha and Cairo to get a deal done by the Muslim fast month of Ramadan, which begins on or around March 10. Hamas, by contrast, is trying to inflame Israeli-Palestinian tension during Ramadan, abetted by Iran and Hezbollah.

“We’re doing everything we can to keep a conversation going,” U.S. Ambassador to Israel Jack Lew told a conference hosted by the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv. “Can I guarantee success? No. But I think it’s a mistake to assume failure. And while the goal of having an agreement by Ramadan is very important, I think getting it done when it gets done is what we have to focus on.”

Expert Analysis

“Hamas seems to think that it can get all of the benefits of a ceasefire with Israel — including total military disengagement and Gaza economic recovery — while remaining dedicated to an open war against it.” — Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“Rafah remains a necessary target for Israeli forces to complete their Gaza offensive. Taking the fight there will put Egypt, a stone’s throw away across the border, on edge. Cairo should make publicly clear now who is at fault: Hamas.” — Joe Truzman, Senior Research Analyst for FDD’s Long War Journal

November Hostage Deal

In November, Hamas released 81 Israeli hostages in exchange for 240 Palestinian prisoners under a Qatari- and Egyptian-mediate deal that paused fighting in Gaza for one week. Additionally, Hamas released 23 Thai nationals, one Filipino, and three Israeli-Russian dual citizens under separate arrangements with Bangkok, Manila, and Moscow. The pause collapsed on December 1, when Hamas refused to provide a list of the remaining women and children in captivity and resumed launching rockets at Israel.

Israel reportedly proposed a new seven-day pause on December 20 in exchange for the release of 40 hostages, including the remaining women, children, and elderly men. Hamas rejected the offer, allegedly telling Egyptian mediators that Israel had to permanently cease its counteroffensive before Hamas would discuss any deal. Jerusalem offered Hamas a two-month pause on January 22, but the proposal did not require Israel to permanently end its counteroffensive. Egyptian mediators delivered another proposal to Hamas on January 30 that the terrorist group likewise rebuffed.

Israel Demands Clarity from Hamas on Hostages,” FDD Flash Brief

Israel Sends Negotiators to Hostage Talks in Paris,” FDD Flash Brief

Qatar: Ceasefire in Gaza Should Not Depend on Hostage Deal,” FDD Flash Brief

U.S., Egyptian, Qatari, and Israeli Officials End Talks Without A Deal,” FDD Flash Brief


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