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US waiting for response to ceasefire proposal from Hamas

A response from Hamas on Israel’s ceasefire proposal that US President Joe Biden revealed on Friday is still being awaited, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan has told reporters.

“We are waiting for a response from Hamas” through the Qatari mediators, Mr Sullivan said.

CIA Director Bill Burns will be in Doha today to consult with Qatari mediators on the Gaza ceasefire proposal, Mr Sullivan added.

Qatar has been mediating on Gaza between Israel and Hamas.

Qatar said it had delivered the Israeli ceasefire proposal to Hamas that reflected a three-phase proposal presented by Mr Biden and that the paper was now much closer to the positions of both sides.

Benjamin Netanyahu has said that there can be no permanent peace unless Hamas is eradicated

A spokesman for Hamas, which has ruled Gaza since 2007, reiterated yesterday that it could not agree to any deal unless Israel makes a “clear” commitment to a permanent truce and complete withdrawal from Gaza.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also repeated that there can be no permanent peace unless Hamas is eradicated, as he struggles with domestic political divisions over the US-backed truce proposal.

Israel’s assault on Gaza has killed more than 36,000, according to the local health ministry, caused widespread hunger, caused mass destruction and led to genocide allegations that Israel denies.

The Israeli offensive followed an attack on Israel by Hamas on 7 October that killed 1,200 with 250 people also taken as hostages, according to Israeli tallies.

State of Palestine

Meanwhile, Slovenia yesterday became the latest European Union country to recognise the State of Palestine after its parliament approved the move with a majority vote, dismissing a call for a referendum on the issue by the largest opposition party.

Prime Minister Robert Golob said the recognition of Palestine as a state sends hope to people

The government last week decided to recognise Palestine as an independent and sovereign state following in the steps of Ireland, Spain and Norway as part of a wider effort to coordinate pressure on Israel to end the war in Gaza.

“Today’s recognition of Palestine as a sovereign and independent state sends hope to the Palestinian people in the West Bank and in Gaza,” Prime Minister Robert Golob said on X.

The vote was scheduled yesterday and a parliamentary group for foreign affairs on Monday endorsed the government decision with a majority vote.

The right-wing Slovenian Democratic Party of former premier Janez Jansa, however, then submitted a proposal on a consultative referendum on the recognition bid, which would have delayed the vote for at least a month.

The SDS, the largest opposition party, argued it was not the right time to recognise a Palestinian state and that the move would only award the “terrorist organisation Hamas”.

After the ruling coalition, which holds a majority in Slovenia’s 90-member parliament, tried to find the way around the referendum demand and proceed with the vote, the SDS withdrew their proposal but submitted it again hours later.

The parliament committee for foreign affairs declared it inadequate and dismissed it.

The decision was approved with 52 votes, and with no rejections after the opposition SDS party left the session.

Of the 27 members of the EU, Sweden, Cyprus, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria have already recognised a Palestinian state.

Malta has said it could follow soon.

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