Israel and Hamas statements don’t reflect reality on Gaza peace talks – White House — RT World News

A US official insisted that public statements were not entirely consistent with discussions taking place in the private sector.

The White House urged the public not to read too much into statements from Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas about negotiations for a ceasefire in Gaza.

US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby stressed on Monday that the discussions taking place behind closed doors, mediated by the United States, Qatar and Egypt, are more important than the public statements issued by the warring parties.

“On both sides, you see public comments that don't necessarily reflect the conversations we're having privately with them or their interlocutors.” Kirby told reporters during a press briefing:

On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a list of what he said were non-negotiable demands as part of the talks. One of those demands was that any ceasefire in Gaza would allow Israel to resume fighting until all of its war goals were achieved. Throughout the conflict, the Israeli leader has repeatedly stated that he seeks to completely destroy Hamas.

The Palestinian armed factions responded by saying that Netanyahu “Continues to put more obstacles in the way of talks” Thus jeopardizing a successful outcome. Hamas also warned that continued Israeli attacks on Gaza risked reviving tensions. “Negotiation process to zero.”

Speaking about the public exchanges between Israel and Hamas on Monday, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller stressed that the belief in Washington is that “It is better to have these conversations in private, not in public.”

“sometimes, [you have] “We have seen the Israeli government make public statements. Sometimes we have seen Hamas make public statements. We will hold the negotiations in private.” He said.

According to Miller, Israeli officials have assured their American counterparts that they remain committed to Washington's three-stage proposal to resolve the conflict in Gaza.

Reuters reported last week that Hamas had agreed to drop its main demand that Israel first commit to a permanent ceasefire before signing the deal. The Palestinian group expects to end hostilities through talks during the first six-week phase of the deal, the agency said.

Israel launched its operation in Gaza in response to a cross-border incursion by Hamas last October that killed at least 1,200 people and took 250 hostage. Some 116 prisoners are believed to still be held in Gaza.

At least 38,000 people have been killed and some 88,000 wounded in Israeli air strikes and ground assaults on the Palestinian enclave so far, according to Gaza’s health ministry. A study published in the Lancet medical journal last week suggested the actual death toll could be five times higher, at more than 186,000.

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