Negotiations with Hamas Stalled in Cairo

YERUSHALAYIM -

Egyptian-mediated negotiations between Israel and Hamas in Cairo have stalled over the issue of the return of Israeli civilians being held in Gaza, as well as the remains of two IDF soldiers, according to the Kan public broadcaster on Wednesday.

Since taking office, the government of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has made their return the condition for allowing the reconstruction of Gaza following damage from 11 days of fighting in May. Under his predecessor, negotiations for the return of the bodies and the captives were pursued on a separate track from ceasefire talks.

Hamas has repeatedly rejected the condition and the Israeli delegation reportedly came back from Cairo on Wednesday evening without any progress to show for their efforts.

A Kan reporter characterized the Hamas demands in Cairo as extravagant and unrealistic, but that the Israeli delegation is still hopeful Egypt can exert enough pressure on Hamas to make a settlement possible.