Qatar ‘optimistic’ after receiving ‘initial positive confirmation’ from terror group on hostage agreement, but source close to Hamas says Qatari statement was ‘rushed and not true’
Hamas has given “initial positive confirmation” to a proposal for the cessation of fighting in Gaza and the release of hostages, Qatar’s foreign ministry spokesman asserted Thursday, but the Palestinian terror group swiftly denied doing so.
“That proposal has been approved by the Israeli side and now we have an initial positive confirmation from the Hamas’ side,” Majed al-Ansari told an audience at a Washington-based graduate school. “There is still a very tough road in front of us.”
“We are optimistic because both sides now agreed to the premise that would lead to a next pause. We’re hopeful that in the next couple of weeks, we’ll be able to share good news about that,” he added.
The comments at Johns Hopkins University briefly triggered some celebrations in Gaza, including festive gunfire, and a drop in the price of crude oil.
A Qatari official clarified to Reuters that there was “no deal yet” and that although “Hamas has received the proposal positively,” Qatar was “waiting for their response.”
But a Hamas official told Reuters a short while later that the terror group has “received the Paris truce proposal but we haven’t given response to any of parties, it is still being studied.”
“We cannot say the current stage of negotiation is zero and at the same time we cannot say that we have reached an agreement,” said Taher al-Nono, the media adviser Qatar-based Hamas politburo chief Ismail Haniyeh.
Additionally, a senior Palestinian source told Lebanese news outlet Al-Mayadeen that Qatar jumped the gun in appearing to announce that Hamas had given initial approval to the ceasefire proposal.
The statement “was rushed and is incorrect,” the source said, claiming that Hamas’s leadership had yet to schedule meetings in Cairo to discuss the proposal with Egyptian mediators.
A similar quote was carried by AFP from a source close to Hamas: “There is no agreement on the framework of the agreement yet — the factions have important observations — and the Qatari statement is rushed and not true.”
In Al-Mayadeen, the source claimed the positive signals were a plot by the Israeli media to stir up public expectations about the nascent deal.