Israel and Hamas at war, day 208 | The United States determined to obtain an agreement “now”

(Tel Aviv) The United States is determined that Israel and Hamas conclude a truce agreement “now” combined with the release of hostages, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday, calling for the movement Palestinian to accept the “very good proposal” on the table.

“We are determined to achieve a ceasefire that brings the hostages home and to achieve it now. And the only reason why it wouldn’t happen is Hamas,” Blinken said in Tel Aviv, meeting Israeli President Isaac Herzog.

“There is a very good proposal on the table at the moment. Hamas must say yes,” Blinken later told Israeli protesters opposed to the war in the Gaza Strip, who welcomed him warmly.

On Tuesday, Mr. Blinken had already urged Hamas to accept “without further delay” this “extraordinarily generous” proposal on the part of Israel.

Following a meeting with Mr. Blinken on Wednesday afternoon, the leader of the opposition in Israel, Yair Lapid, stressed that the ball was also in the Israeli Prime Minister’s court.

Benjamin “Netanyahu has no political excuse for not concluding an agreement for the release of the hostages,” he declared on X, “he has a majority within the Nation, a majority in the Knesset, and, if necessary, I will ensure that it has a majority in the government.”

“Thank you Biden; Thank you Blinken,” chanted protesters waving American flags in front of his Tel Aviv hotel.

Fate of the hostages

The mediators – Egypt, Qatar, United States – are still awaiting Hamas’ response on Wednesday to the latest version of a truce offer, including a pause in the Israeli offensive and the release of Palestinian detainees in exchange for the release of hostages kidnapped during the unprecedented attack by the Palestinian movement on October 7 in southern Israel.

Hamas is demanding a “permanent” ceasefire before any agreement on the release of the hostages, which Israel has always refused until now, emphasizing its determination to carry out a ground offensive in Rafah, a town in the south of the strip. of Gaza, considered the last stronghold of Hamas and where there are currently 1.5 million Palestinians, the majority displaced by the war.

Mr. Blinken met with the families of the hostages. Their plight “is at the heart of everything we try to do,” he assured them.

He then went to Jerusalem where he spoke with Mr. Netanyahu, to whom he reiterated, according to a State Department spokesperson, the opposition of the United States, Israel’s historic ally, to an offensive on Rafah.

Mr. Netanyahu repeated Tuesday that “with or without a truce agreement,” the Israeli army would enter Rafah, despite opposition from the international community which is concerned about the fate of the Palestinian civilian population.

According to the American spokesperson, Mr. Blinken also insisted to the Israeli Prime Minister on “the importance of maintaining and accelerating” the progress recorded, under American pressure, in the entry of aid into the Gaza Strip, where the United Nations warns of imminent famine due to food shortages.

The American Secretary of State must also go to Ashdod, an Israeli port near Gaza, recently reopened to allow the delivery of aid.

The October 7 attack carried out by Hamas commandos infiltrated from Gaza resulted in the deaths of 1,170 people, according to an AFP report based on official Israeli data. The military operation carried out in retaliation by Israel in the Gaza Strip left 34,568 dead, mainly civilians, according to Hamas.


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