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Sunday, May 19, 2024

US and UK Encourage Hamas to Agree to Israel’s Peace Offer

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RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Antony Blinken, the ‍U.S. Secretary of State, on Monday, ⁢made ‍a strong appeal to Hamas⁢ to promptly agree to an Israeli truce offer in the ongoing Gaza conflict and to release⁤ Israeli hostages in the custody of the Palestinian militant group.

It was anticipated that Hamas⁢ negotiators would⁢ convene with Qatari and Egyptian mediators in Cairo on Monday to​ present a response‌ to the step-by-step truce ‌proposal that Israel⁤ put forth over the weekend.

“Hamas has been‍ presented with⁣ an offer that is ​remarkably, remarkably generous from‍ Israel,” Blinken stated during a meeting of the World Economic Forum in Riyadh,⁤ the capital of Saudi Arabia.

“The only⁤ obstacle⁤ preventing the⁢ people ⁣of Gaza from a cease-fire is ​Hamas. They ​must make a decision, and they ‍must make it promptly,” he added.‍ “I am optimistic that they will choose wisely.”

An ‍insider privy to the discussions revealed that Israel’s proposal involved a deal for the release of less than 40 of the approximately 130 hostages believed to be ‍still held in Gaza in return for the liberation of Palestinians‌ imprisoned⁢ in Israel.

The second phase‌ of the truce would involve a “period of sustained calm” — Israel’s compromise ⁤response to Hamas’s demand for a permanent ⁢cease-fire.

On Oct. 7, a total of 253 hostages‍ were taken in ‍a Hamas attack on southern Israel, which also resulted in the death of about 1,200 Israelis, as per Israeli records.

In retaliation, Israel ⁣imposed a complete blockade on Gaza and launched ​an ​air and ground attack that has resulted in⁤ the death of approximately⁤ 34,500 Palestinians, according​ to‌ Gaza⁢ health authorities.

The offensive has led to a humanitarian crisis in the territory, with Palestinians facing severe shortages of food, fuel, ‍and medicine.

David Cameron,‌ Britain’s Foreign Secretary, who ⁣was also⁢ present⁣ in Riyadh for the World Economic Forum meeting, echoed the sentiment that the Israeli proposal was ​”generous.”

He informed the forum audience that ⁤the proposal⁢ included a 40-day⁣ pause in fighting and the release of potentially ⁢thousands of⁢ Palestinian prisoners as ⁤well as Israeli hostages.

“I sincerely hope that Hamas accepts this deal. The entire world’s pressure and ​attention should be on them today, urging them to ‘accept that deal’,” ‌Cameron stated.

Cameron is among several foreign ministers in ​Riyadh, including ‍representatives ⁣from the⁢ U.S., France, Jordan, and Egypt, all working towards a diplomatic resolution to end the Gaza war.

Saudi ties

Blinken⁣ reaffirmed that ⁢the United States ⁣—⁤ Israel’s primary diplomatic ally and weapons provider — could not support an ‍Israeli ground assault on Rafah without a plan to⁣ ensure the ‍safety of civilians.

Over a million displaced Gaza residents ⁣are ⁤packed into Rafah,⁢ the southernmost city of ​the⁣ enclave, seeking⁣ shelter ⁢from Israeli ‍bombardments. Israel claims that the last Hamas⁢ fighters are ⁣hiding‌ there and plans to⁤ launch an offensive to flush⁣ them​ out ‍soon.

Blinken also mentioned that the United States ⁢and Saudi Arabia have been working closely over the past few months ​towards a normalization agreement between the ​kingdom and Israel — a goal that has been hindered by the Gaza‍ war.

“To progress‍ with normalization, ‌two prerequisites are ⁤needed:​ peace in Gaza and a credible pathway to a Palestinian state,” ​he stated.

In exchange for normalization, Arab nations are urging Israel to accept a ‍pathway​ to Palestinian statehood on land​ it seized in the 1967 Middle East war⁤ — a⁢ proposal that Israeli Prime‍ Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has consistently rejected.

Prince Faisal bin ⁢Farhan bin Abdullah, ‌Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister,‌ also‍ stated on‌ Monday that an agreement ​between Washington ‍and Riyadh⁤ regarding​ normalization was “very, very‍ close.”

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Truth Media Network
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2 COMMENTS

  1. Disagree – Encouraging Hamas to agree to Israel’s peace offer may not lead to a lasting solution.

  2. Agree – It’s important for all parties to come to the table and work towards peace in the region.

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