Mon. May 20th, 2024

U.S. pushes Hamas to accept cease-fire before Israel Rafah invasion

By 37ci3 Apr29,2024


ARIAD, Saudi Arabia – The United States made a last-ditch effort to restore order on Monday ceasefire to engage in between Israel and Hamas that will lead off an attack Rafah, the southernmost city of Gaza.

Two people familiar with the American position told NBC News that U.S. officials do not believe Israel is ready for a full-scale ground intervention in Rafah, providing an important window to reach a deal for a ceasefire and the release of hostages still held by Hamas. .

Secretary of State Antony Blinken led the diplomatic effort in the Middle East – he quickly dealt with a possible military attack on a city where more than 1 million Palestinians have taken refuge – then President Joe Biden In a telephone conversation with the Prime Minister of Israel, he reiterated his opposition to the Rafah operation of the United States Benjamin Netanyahu Sunday.

This push is being done in protest of Israel’s actions rock college campuses Within the US and because Israel is afraid of their leaders may soon face the arrest warrant of the International Criminal Court.

UC Berkeley Students Hold Rally in Support of Gaza
Pro-Palestinian demonstrators on the UC Berkeley campus last week. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Speaking in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, Blinken said that the ceasefire offer given to Hamas by mediators from Qatar and Egypt was “extraordinarily generous”. He added that Hamas should “make a quick decision” on the proposal and “hope they make the right decision.”

An Israeli official and an Arab diplomat with knowledge of the talks told NBC News will see the release of 33 hostages in the first phase in exchange for a temporary ceasefire and the release of Palestinian prisoners.

The released prisoners would include women, children, the elderly and those in critical health, the official said, adding that earlier talks had discussed an agreement on 40 hostages, but Hamas had indicated there might not be 40 live hostages. who fits these criteria.

Israeli officials previously said that 133 hostages remained in Gaza, although 34 people were believed to be dead.

Talks have been deadlocked for weeks, but US officials say they are encouraged by Hamas’ release two videos showing proof of life three captives who may indicate the militant group is interested in a deal.

U.S. officials said the fate of any deal would ultimately depend on Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, who is believed to be underground in the tunnels beneath Gaza.

A mid-level delegation of Israeli security officials may travel to Cairo on Tuesday, depending on the progress of the talks, an Israeli official said.

Relatives and supporters of the Israeli hostages held in Gaza held a protest in front of the Israeli parliament
Relatives and supporters of the hostages in Gaza held a protest in front of the Israeli parliament.Menahem Kahana / AFP – Getty Images file

However, Hamas spokesman Abdul Latif al-Qanu said in a statement on Monday that no deal could succeed without a permanent ceasefire, the withdrawal of Israeli forces and the return of displaced people to their homes in Gaza.

If a cease-fire goes into effect and a deal is reached to free the remaining hostages, US officials believe Netanyahu, who is under increasing pressure at home to secure their freedom, will find it difficult to resume major military operations in Gaza. two sources said.

There have been widespread protests in Israel calling on Netanyahu and his government to do more to free the remaining hostages.

However, in recent days, the Israeli government has caused a difference of opinion regarding this proposal.

Right-wing members of Netanyahu’s cabinet pointed to the opposition, saying Israel should focus on the Rafah offensive and threatening to quit the government if the deal goes through. More moderate members, including War Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz, said a deal on hostages was more urgent than the attack on Rafah.

Netanyahu has repeatedly said he intends to launch a full-scale ground invasion of the city, home to many of the remaining Hamas militants.

Blinken – on his seventh trip to the Middle East since the Israel-Hamas war began in October – told Arab officials on Monday that the best way to reduce the humanitarian disaster in Gaza would be to broker a ceasefire to free the hostages.

“The most effective way to resolve the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, to alleviate the suffering of children, women and men, and to create space for a more just and lasting solution, is to end the ceasefire and hostages,” he said. At the meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Gulf countries in Riyadh.

US officials said the main purpose of Blinken’s visit was to move towards a bailout agreement and an extended temporary ceasefire.

They added that Blinken will meet with Egyptian and Qatari officials at the forum. Both countries are trying to broker a ceasefire in Gaza, and a high-level delegation from Egypt visited Israel last week to discuss a long-term ceasefire.

Blinken will then travel to Jordan and Israel.

The US is also pursuing a broader deal between Saudi Arabia and Israel that includes normalization of relations, a path to an independent Palestinian state and a plan to rebuild Gaza, US officials said.

A Palestinian mourns his relatives who died as a result of Israeli bombing
A Palestinian mourns his relatives who were killed in Israeli bombings at Al-Najjar hospital in Rafah, Gaza on Monday.AFP – Getty Images

Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, who also attended the forum, said on Monday that “the most important thing now is to avoid an attack on Rafah” because it would be “disastrous”. He added that progress had been made but that there were still “fundamental issues” that needed to be addressed on both sides. “There have to be compromises on both sides,” he said.

Saudi Arabia’s Finance Minister Mohammad al-Jadaan also said at the forum that “cool-headed countries, leaders and people should win.” He added that the region needs “stability”.

Meanwhile, the bombing of the Israeli army continues Welfare from the weather over the weekend. Palestinian health officials said at least 22 people were killed, including six women and five children.

Andrea Mitchell and Keir Simmons reported from Riyadh, and Raf Sanchez reported from Tel Aviv.



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