National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Sunday it was unclear when talks to restart a ceasefire between Israel and the militant group Hamas would resume after fighting flared up over the weekend.
When asked by NBC’s Kristen Welker on “Meet the Press” about a potential timeline for getting negotiations back on track, Kirby said, “Well, I wish I knew the answer to that.”
“I, what I can say is that we are still working hard hour by hour to see if we can get the team back to the table and if we can get something moving. I hope that happens. But to be honest, I don’t know,” he continued.
A week-long ceasefire between Israel and Hamas ended on Friday after the militant group failed to compile a list of hostages to be released. During the week-long ceasefire, Hamas released more than 100 hostages in exchange for Israel releasing about 240 Palestinian prisoners.
Kirby’s comments also came after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu withdrew his country’s negotiators from Qatar, saying relations with Hamas had reached an “impasse”. He accused the armed groups of not honoring the end of the deal.
Kirby also blamed Hamas on Sunday for the collapse of the ceasefire.
“Well, Kristen, there are no formal negotiations going on right now, and that’s because of Hamas,” Kirby said. “Although Hamas has not been able to compile a further list of women and children that can be released, we know that they are holding additional women and children. There are no civilians, women and children in custody, but they cannot be submitted to the list. ”
“Unfortunately, the negotiations have been halted. That being said, what hasn’t stopped is our own involvement, trying to get them back on track and talking with all of those partners and interlocutors to bring the original “We’re trying to see if we can’t get it back into position,” he continued.
Israel subsequently escalated its shelling of Gaza and ordered more evacuations in southern Gaza on Sunday, according to reports. Associated Press. The Israeli military said Saturday it had attacked 400 targets in the Gaza Strip, including 50 in southern Gaza, where an estimated 2 million civilians have fled the conflict.
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