STORY: :: Blinken says Hamas' response to a ceasefire deal includes some unworkable changes

:: Antony Blinken, U.S. Secretary of State

"We were waiting on one response, and that was the response from Hamas. And as the Prime Minister said, last night we received a response. Hamas has proposed numerous changes to the proposal that was on the table. We discussed those changes last night with Egyptian colleagues and today with the Prime Minister. Some of the changes are workable, some are not."

:: June 12, 2024

:: Doha, Qatar

"But in the days ahead, we are going to continue to push, on an urgent basis, with our partners, with Qatar, with Egypt, to try to close this deal. Because we know it's in the interest of Israelis, Palestinians, the region, indeed the entire world. And, we all agree, that the deal has to be grounded in the principles of the ceasefire proposal that the entire international community supports."

"I can't speak for Hamas or answer for Hamas, and ultimately, it may not be the path that Hamas wants to pursue. But Hamas cannot and will not be allowed to decide the future for this region and its people."

Hamas formally responded on Tuesday to a U.S. ceasefire proposal outlined by U.S. President Joe Biden on May 31 that envisages a ceasefire and phased release of Israeli hostages in Gaza in exchange for Palestinians jailed in Israel, ultimately leading to a permanent end to the war.

A Hamas official told Reuters the response reaffirmed its stance that a ceasefire must lead to a permanent end to hostilities in Gaza, withdrawal of Israeli forces, reconstruction of the Palestinian enclave and release of Palestinian prisoners in Israel.

Negotiators from the U.S., Egypt and Qatar have been trying for months to mediate a ceasefire and free the hostages, more than 100 of whom are believed to remain captive in Gaza.