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Gaza war: Blinken says fate of ceasefire plan down to Hamas

Legend, US pushes for Israel, Hamas to reach ceasefire deal

  • Author, Tom Batman
  • Role, US State Department Correspondent
  • Report of Traveling with Antony Blinken

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had “reaffirmed his commitment” to a Gaza ceasefire plan and that if it did not move forward, Hamas would would be responsible.

He said it was up to “one man” hidden “ten stories underground in Gaza” to cast the deciding vote, referring to Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar.

Mr. Netanyahu did not publicly endorse what Mr. Biden outlined or indicate whether it amounted to an Israeli ceasefire proposal on which Mr. Biden’s statement was based.

The resolution noted that Israel had accepted what Mr. Biden had presented and called on Hamas to do the same.

Hamas issued a statement Tuesday welcoming “what was included” in the resolution.

But Mr. Blinken said Hamas’ response was inconclusive, adding that “what matters” is what Hamas leaders in Gaza say, “and that’s what we don’t have.”

If the proposal doesn’t go through, then the onus is “on them,” he said.

After months of halting ceasefire talks behind closed doors, Mr. Biden last month publicly announced what he called “Israeli’s road map to a lasting ceasefire and the release of all the hostages,” which he then described.

The proposal involves an initial six-week ceasefire, with Hamas releasing some hostages in exchange for Israel’s release of an unspecified number of Palestinian prisoners.

A second phase would see the remaining hostages released by Hamas and a full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza as part of a “permanent” ceasefire, but the latter would still be subject to negotiations.

Mr. Blinken’s trip is part of an intense diplomatic effort by the United States to try to push the parties to make progress on the proposal, but reaching a deal faces major obstacles.

Mr. Netanyahu acknowledged that his war cabinet had authorized the plan but did not express unequivocal support. Far-right members of his cabinet threatened to leave his coalition and cause its collapse if the deal was reached, seeing it as a capitulation to Hamas.

At the same time, Hamas will likely seek clear guarantees that the proposal would result in the complete withdrawal of Israeli forces and a definitive end to the war.

For the moment, he has not yet responded officially to this plan.

The actual Israeli proposal — which would be longer than the summary presented by Mr. Biden — has not been made public and it is unclear whether it differs from what the president conveyed in his May 31 statement. It was presented to Hamas a few days before Mr. Biden’s speech.

The Israeli proposal was accepted by the three-man war cabinet and was not disclosed to the government as a whole. Some far-right ministers have already made it clear that they are opposed to it.

Legend, Mr. Blinken met with families of Israeli hostages outside his hotel

The Biden administration is trying to harness popular pressure as part of its campaign to push parties to move forward on the proposal.

As Mr. Blinken met with Israeli officials in Tel Aviv on Tuesday, protesters outside his hotel waved American flags calling for a deal. Many held photos of hostages and chanted: “SOS, USA” and “we trust you, Blinken, make a deal.”

Vicki Cohen, the mother of Nimrod Cohen, 19, an Israeli soldier kidnapped by Hamas on October 7, held a banner showing his photo.

She told the BBC: “We come here to ask Blinken and the American government to help us, to save us from our government. Our prime minister does not want to bring back our loved ones, we need their help to put pressure on our government.”

Mr. Blinken later spoke with Ms. Cohen and other hostage families, including Americans, in a brief interaction with them outside the hotel.

“You’re going to be here every day, we’re going to be here every day,” he told them.

The secretary of state continued his whirlwind diplomatic visit, flying by U.S. military plane to Amman, the Jordanian capital, then by helicopter to the Dead Sea for a conference of Arab leaders calling for greater aid access to Gaza, ravaged by war.

The ride involved five Jordanian air force helicopters carrying Mr. Blinken, his officials and the BBC among the traveling press group. The fleet headed west, flying low, to the town of Swemeh on the shores of the Dead Sea, located directly opposite the occupied West Bank.

In a speech at the conference, Blinken said Israel had taken “some important steps” to ensure aid flows to Gaza, but he insisted it “can and must Do more “.

He also announced $404 million in new aid for the Palestinians, urging other countries to also “step up” their aid.

“The horror must end,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the conference. “The speed and scale of the carnage and killing in Gaza is beyond anything I have observed during my years as secretary-general,” he said.

UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths called the war in Gaza a “stain on our humanity” and appealed for $2.5 billion to meet the humanitarian needs of Palestinians in Gaza from April to December.

The war began after Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, killing around 1,200 people and taking 251 others hostage to Gaza. The health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza says more than 37,000 people have been killed since then in the Israeli offensive.

News Source : www.bbc.com
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jack colman

With a penchant for words, jack began writing at an early age. As editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper, he honed his skills telling impactful stories. Smith went on to study journalism at Columbia University, where he graduated top of his class. After interning at the New York Times, jack landed a role as a news writer. Over the past decade, he has covered major events like presidential elections and natural disasters. His ability to craft compelling narratives that capture the human experience has earned him acclaim. Though writing is his passion, jack also enjoys hiking, cooking and reading historical fiction in his free time. With an eye for detail and knack for storytelling, he continues making his mark at the forefront of journalism.
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