Blinken Urges Hamas to End the ‘Haggling’ and Accept Ceasefire and Hostage Deal With Israel

Washington and international mediators in Egypt and Qatar see the deal as the best path toward ending the war in Gaza.

Ibraheem Al Omari/Pool Photo via AP
Secretary of State Blinken speaks at a joint press conference with the Qatari prime minister, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, at Doha, Qatar, Wednesday, June 12, 2024. Ibraheem Al Omari/Pool Photo via AP

Secretary of State Blinken is urging Hamas to end the “haggling” over the America-backed hostage and ceasefire proposal with Israel and finally accept the latest draft of the deal, which he says is nearly identical to the one the terrorist group advanced on May 6. 

On Tuesday, Israeli officials said Hamas effectively rejected the proposal, which Jerusalem put forth and President Biden outlined in a speech on May 31. Mr. Blinken has expressed his confidence that Israel will commit to the deal, even though two-far-right members of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s governing coalition, Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich, have said they could not accept any deal that stops short of annihilating Hamas.

“It’s time for the haggling to stop and the ceasefire to start. Israel accepted the proposal as it is, Hamas didn’t. It is clear what needs to happen,” Mr. Blinken said after meeting with the Prime Minister of Qatar at Doha on Wednesday. 

Washington and international mediators in Egypt and Qatar see this deal as the best path toward ending the war in Gaza. Nearly two weeks after the proposal was announced, Hamas asked for numerous changes, “a number of which go beyond positions it has previously presented and agreed to,” Mr. Blinken said.

Mr. Biden announced that the three-phase deal would begin with a six-week “full and complete cease-fire” and a withdrawal of Israeli forces from densely populated parts of Gaza. This phase would also include the release of Israeli hostages who are women, the elderly and the wounded, as well as American hostages and the remains of hostages who have been killed. In exchange, Israel would release hundreds of Palestinian prisoners.

The second phase would include the release of all remaining living hostages, including male soldiers. The ceasefire would lead to the “the cessation of hostilities permanently,” Israel said, if Hamas lives up to its commitment. The third phase would see the beginning of decades of reconstruction in Gaza.


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