Rafah, Gaza, Israeli airstrike, Hamas, International, Global

Israel Increases Pressure After Hamas Accepts Proposal To Cease-Fire In Gaza

Hamas finally agreed to a potential cease-fire in Gaza shortly before Israel announced an expansion on U.S. support in the Palestinian enclave. 

Hamas finally agreed to a potential cease-fire in Gaza shortly before Israel announced an expansion on U.S. support in the Palestinian enclave. 

According to Basem Naim, the chief of Hamas’ political and foreign relations department and a member of the Gaza bureau, Hamas accepted ideas proposed by Qatar and Egypt during intensive negotiations involving the U.S. but stated it was “early” to reveal plan terms. 

Israeli officials appeared suspicious of the agreement, allegedly suggesting it was far off from what was initially offered, but Israeli newspaper Haaretz said the deal was very close to what was accepted by Israel, according to the outlet. In response, Israeli diplomats announced they would continue amping up the assault on the Gazan town of Rafah, home to 1.5 million Palestinians now sheltering in place. 

In a statement, Israel said a team will be sent, along with Egyptian and Qatari dignitaries, to discuss the next moves with Hamas in order “to exhaust the possibility of reaching an agreement under conditions acceptable to Israel.” While it hasn’t been determined who else will be involved in the negotiations, U.S. officials said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his war cabinet ― including rival Benny Gantz ― “have not appeared to approach the latest phase of negotiations in good faith.”

For weeks, the U.S., Egypt, and Qatar have been speaking about a truce proposal between Israel and Hamas. According to The Hill, the Biden administration expressed concern over Hamas’s cease-fire response after warning Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu against launching an attack on Rafah. 

National security communications adviser John Kirby said President Joe Biden spoke with Netanyahu before Hamas’ response, with the primary goal of having hostages released. “We want to get these hostages out, we want to get a cease-fire for six weeks, we want to increase humanitarian assistance, and the last thing I want to do is say anything at this podium that’s going to put that process at risk,” Kirby said. 

The White House feels a temporary cease-fire is the best way to secure the release of Israeli hostages. In November 2023, shortly after the first attack on Oct. 7, the same strategy, lasting one week, resulted in the release of more than 100 hostages. 

President Biden has continued to show empathy for Israel’s occupation of Gaza and the attacks against Palestinians. As violent protests have taken over college campuses across the country, Biden said he believes in the right to protest, but peacefully, and professed violence won’t be tolerated, stating the United States wasn’t a “lawless country” and that in a “civil society, order must prevail.”

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