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Israel remains firm on its conditions as Gaza peace talks show no progress

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Gaza peace talks yet to make headway as Israel stick to its conditions

Tel Aviv, March 24 (IANS) The indirect mediatory talks between Israel and Hamas in Doha, Qatar are at a standstill as Israel remains firm on its ceasefire terms. The US is pushing for an immediate ceasefire, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken facilitating negotiations between the two sides.

Sources in the Israeli Defense Ministry revealed that Israel is sticking to the terms agreed upon by the war cabinet. Hamas is seeking the release of 30 Palestinian prisoners for each Israeli woman hostage, while Israel is willing to release a maximum of five prisoners for each woman and will not release those convicted of grave offences.

Israel has informed mediators, including Qatar Prime Minister and Egyptian Intelligence head, that it is in a dominant military position, with only four Hamas battalions remaining to be defeated on the warfront. Mossad chief David Barnea has conveyed to CIA head William Burns that Israel would agree to a temporary ceasefire on its terms.

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Israel has agreed to increased aid flow into Gaza and the rehabilitation of 2000 displaced Palestinian families as part of the negotiations. The Israeli delegation insists on the release of hostages in two lots, while Hamas was initially pushing for three lots for the release of Israeli soldiers and civilians held in custody.

Hamas had proposed releasing women and ailing hostages in the first lot, female Israeli soldiers in the second, and male soldiers in the third. However, Israel wants all civilian men and soldiers to be released in the second lot. The negotiations are ongoing, but Israel is firm on advancing talks based on its terms.

Despite the efforts of the US and mediators, a breakthrough in the talks is yet to be achieved as both sides remain resolute on their conditions for a ceasefire deal. Israel’s unwavering stance on prisoner release and specific terms for ceasefire continue to be key points of contention in the negotiations.

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