Tel Aviv: Even as negotiations and discussions are taking place at several places including Paris, Cairo and Doha for a pause in the fight between Hamas and Israel, a rift between senior Hamas leaders is putting the ceasefire on hold.
Sources in the Israeli Defence Minister’s office said that they have received information from Qatar mediators that internal differences have popped up between Hamas senior leader Ismail Haniyeh and Yahya Sinwar on the duration of the ceasefire.
While Sinwar wants a temporary ceasefire of six to eight weeks and the partial release of hostages, Haniyeh wants a permanent end to the war and international support for rebuilding the Gaza Strip.
Sinwar and Haniyeh have however agreed on the release of all Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails. The sources said that Haniyeh has the backing of senior Hamas leaders Moosa Abu Marzook and Khalil al Hayya while Sinwar reportedly has the support of Hamas’ military head Mohammed Deif. The internal differences in the top leadership of Hamas have infuriated the Qatari and Egyptian negotiators, according to the sources.
Of the 253 hostages taken into custody by Hamas, 105 were released by the group during a weeklong ceasefire from November 24 to December 1. Israel, on the other hand, released 324 Palestinian prisoners during the period. Israeli agencies have confirmed that 29 of the remaining hostages in Hamas custody are dead. (IANS)