Egypt: Hamas, Islamic Jihad reject giving up power in return for permanent ceasefire

Egypt: Hamas, Islamic Jihad reject giving up power in return for permanent ceasefire

Egypt: Hamas, Islamic Jihad reject giving up power in return for permanent ceasefire

Two Egyptian security sources told Reuters on Monday that Hamas and the affiliated Islamic Jihad had rejected an Egyptian proposal that they cede control of the Gaza Strip in exchange for an ongoing ceasefire.

Both parties, who have been in separate negotiations with Egyptian mediators in Cairo, have refused to make any compromises other than the potential release of further hostages taken on October 7, the day when extremists invaded southern Israel and massacred 1,200 people.

In addition to receiving support from Qatari mediators, Egypt put up a “vision” that called for the release of further hostages in exchange for a permanent truce and a change in the government of Gaza, which is now headed by Hamas.

According to the sources, Egypt offered Hamas guarantees that its members would not be hunted down or prosecuted in exchange for elections, but the Islamist organisation rejected all compromises save the release of hostages. It is still thought that around a hundred captives are being kept in Gaza.

Islamic Jihad has repeated similar position and is also holding hostages in Gaza.

A team from Islamic Jihad, headed by Ziad al-Nakhala, is now in Cairo to discuss prisoner swap offers and other matters with Egyptian officials. However, an official stated that the group had demanded an end to Israel’s military offensive as a prerequisite for more talks.

The official stated that Islamic Jihad demands that any prisoner swap be founded on the idea of “all for all,” which calls for the release of all Palestinians imprisoned in Israel in exchange for the release of all hostages held in Gaza by Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

5,250 Palestinians were detained by Israel prior to the battle; but, after October 7, Israel has detained thousands more people in the West Bank and Gaza, bringing the total to about 10,000, according to the Palestinian Prisoners Association.

Gaza saw one of the worst nights of the 11-week conflict overnight and into Monday. According to Palestinian health sources, an Israeli bombing in the heart of the small, embattled Gaza Strip has killed at least 70 people.

(With agency inputs)