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Biden makes big move on hostage deal in exchange for ceasefire, puts responsibility on Israeli and Hamas officials to step in – vopbuzz

Biden makes big move on hostage deal in exchange for.cms

WASHINGTON: President Joe Biden is ignoring resistance from key Israeli officials as he puts pressure on Israel and Hamas Accepting a three-phase deal that could immediately bring home dozens of Israeli hostages, free Palestinian prisoners and perhaps even bring an end to the nearly eight-month-long Gaza war.
Biden’s big push during a tough reelection fight could also signal to a significant portion of his political base demoralized by his handling of the conflict that he is doing his part to end the war that has killed more than 36,000 Palestinians and left hundreds of thousands more struggling. to meet basic needs.
White House officials said Monday of Biden’s decision to publicly describe what he describes as Israeli offer He was acting out of a desire to put Hamas in a difficult situation, just one day after he was handed over to Hamas. This move differed from the US administration’s stance throughout the conflict, which had allowed Israelis to speak on their own behalf regarding hostage negotiations.
“The President felt that where we were in this war, where we were in the negotiations to get the hostages out, it was time for a different approach, to make the proposal public, to mobilize and catalyze the process here,” White House national security spokesman John Kirby said, “a different outcome.”
Immediately after Biden detailed his offer, truce and a phased withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza if Hamas releases all hostages – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office has said it will continue the war until Hamas is destroyed.
Netanyahu’s political survival depends on a far-right coalition determined to eliminate Hamas. He cast further doubt on the proposal’s feasibility on Monday when he told an Israeli parliamentary committee that there were some “holes” in the way Biden had put forward the proposal. The prime minister said the Israelis “reserve the right to return to war.”
Kirby downplayed the differences between Biden and Netanyahu and underlined that the offer was an Israeli offer. He added that Biden agreed with the Israelis that Hamas should not rule post-war Gaza and that he “did not expect Israel to have to live right next to that kind of terrorist threat.”
“This wasn’t about pressuring the prime minister or the war cabinet,” Kirby said. “This was about making it clear to the public how well, how faithfully, how assertively the Israelis have put forward a new proposal. This shows how much they really want to do this.”
But even if Hamas accepts the terms, Netanyahu will have to make some difficult political calculations. Two leading members of the far-right coalition – National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich – threatened to leave the government if Netanyahu signs the proposal. This causes the coalition to collapse.
Smotrich said on Monday that accepting the ceasefire would mean humiliating Israel and surrendering. He said the increasing military pressure was “the only language understood in the Middle East”.
Netanyahu also faced pressure from hostage families to reach an agreement on the release of their loved ones. Authorities say about 80 people captured by militants in the Oct. 7 attack are still alive, and Hamas holds the bodies of 43 others. But opposition leader Yair Lapid promised over the weekend that he would ensure his government does not break the deal by providing Netanyahu with a political safety net.
Even though the proposal faces strong headwinds, the Biden administration has said it remains cautiously optimistic that a deal can be reached.
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan called on world leaders to get behind the proposal.
“They need to turn their eyes to Hamas this week and say it’s time to come to the table to make this deal,” Sullivan said in his speech at the US Global Leadership Conference in Washington. said.
To that end, Biden met with Hamas’s key interlocutor, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani of Qatar, on Monday and said this was “the best possible opportunity for an agreement,” the White House said.
Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US envoy to the United Nations, said the US circulated a draft resolution seeking support for the proposal from the other 14 members of the UN Security Council.
Meanwhile, Sullivan spoke with his Turkish counterpart Akif Çağatay Kılıç about using his influence to get Turkey to accept Hamas’ offer. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan defended Hamas and hosted the group’s political leader Ismail Haniye at talks in April.
On Monday, the Group of Seven leaders also approved the agreement.
“We call on Hamas to accept this agreement, with which Israel is prepared to move forward, and we call on countries with influence on Hamas to help deliver it,” G7 leaders said in a statement. they said.
Biden acknowledged last week that it would be difficult to move beyond the first phase of the proposal.
The first phase will last six weeks and include a ceasefire, the withdrawal of Israeli forces from all densely populated areas of Gaza and the release of a number of hostages, including women, the elderly and the wounded. Release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners.
Under the offer, the Israelis will also allow 600 humanitarian aid trucks to enter Gaza every day in the first phase. The second phase will include the release of all surviving hostages, including male soldiers, and Israeli forces will withdraw from Gaza.
Hamas will likely make very large demands on which Palestinian prisoners will be released and will call on Israel to provide assurances that it will not continue targeting senior Hamas leaders.
Former US Middle East peace negotiator Aaron David Miller said even moving to phase one (and a six-week pause in hostilities) would lead to “a downshift in military action escalation and fewer people dying.”
“I’m not sure they can expect much more,” said Miller, now a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “Negotiations will only yield results if the parties feel enough pain with the expectation of gain, and this creates urgency. The only party in a hurry here is the Biden administration.”
In fact, Israeli officials see the conflict on a much longer timeline.
Just last week, Israeli national security advisor Tzachi Hanegbi said he expected the war to last another seven months to destroy the military and administrative capabilities of Hamas and the smaller Islamic Jihad militant group.
But with just over five months until Election Day in the US, Biden faces growing pressure to more quickly resolve the Middle East conflict that has sapped his support.
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