Ismail Haniyeh
Ismail HaniyehReuters

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said on Wednesday that the negotiations on an agreement to release hostages have reached an impasse and that the Israeli entry into Rafah threaten the talks even more.

"The occupation responded to Hamas' agreement to a ceasefire proposal by taking over the Rafah crossing and invading Jabalya and the Zeitoun neighborhood," Haniyeh said.

Hamas, he claimed, responded positively to the efforts of the mediators, Egypt and Qatar, to reach a ceasefire agreement and a hostage release deal, however "the behavior of the occupation shows its intentions to continue the war against our people and that it is not interested in its prisoners (hostages -ed.)".

He noted that Hamas is in talks with Egypt and both sides believe that Israel should immediately withdraw from the Rafah crossing.

He accused the US administration of providing political support to the "war of extermination that Israel is waging against the Palestinian people."

Regarding the scenarios for the "day after" the war in Gaza, Haniyeh said that Hamas and the other Palestinian Arab organizations are the ones who will determine the future of the Gaza Strip.

Hamas said last week that it has decided to agree to a ceasefire proposal, but the proposal it had agreed to was not what Israel had proposed.

The group later announced that, in light of what it termed as “Israel's refusal” of the proposal of the mediators for a ceasefire and hostage release deal, and amid the Israeli operation in Rafah, it intends to hold consultations with the Palestinian Arab factions and “re-examine” its negotiation strategy.

Last Friday, CNN reported that Hamas demanded that Israel agree to a 12-week ceasefire instead of a six-week ceasefire during the hostage negotiations.

Three sources familiar with the discussions said that Hamas forwarded the demand in question to mediators in its latest counter proposal. According to the sources, Israel strongly opposes the extension of the ceasefire.

The Saudi Asharq channel reported that the Israeli delegation in Cairo demanded that Hamas release 33 living hostages alive in the first stage, as opposed to Hamas' proposal that the hostages would be "alive or dead."