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Biden Considers Direct Negotiations with Hamas to Secure Hostage Release

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The Biden administration may negotiate directly with Hamas for the release of American hostages if ceasefire talks with Israel fail, amidst rising international pressure for peace.

Biden Administration Considers Direct Negotiations with Hamas

The Biden administration is contemplating the possibility of negotiating a unilateral agreement with Hamas for the release of five American hostages held in Gaza if current ceasefire talks between Israel and the Palestinian group fail. According to sources, these negotiations, facilitated through Qatari interlocutors, would exclude Israel. The five American hostages are believed to have been kidnapped during the October 7 attack by Palestinian terrorists in Israel, an incident in which nearly a thousand people were killed. In addition to securing the hostages' release, U.S. officials aim to recover the remains of three other American citizens.

International Pressure for Ceasefire Intensifies

Secretary of State Antony Blinken returned to the Middle East for his eighth visit since the conflict began. In meetings with key regional leaders, including Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi and Qatari officials, Blinken emphasized the need for Hamas to accept a ceasefire plan that has broad international support and has been accepted by Israel. The plan includes a temporary pause in hostilities, increased humanitarian aid, and a roadmap for lasting peace. Blinken's visit follows a bloody Israeli operation in Gaza and adds to the mounting international pressure to end the hostilities.

U.S. Pushes for UN Security Council Vote

The United States has called for a vote at the United Nations Security Council to secure a total and immediate ceasefire with the release of hostages. The proposed three-phase plan aims to cease hostilities, facilitate the exchange of prisoners, increase humanitarian aid, and lay the groundwork for a multi-year reconstruction plan for Gaza. The plan has been met with mixed reactions, particularly from Algeria and Russia, but the U.S. insists it offers the best chance to save lives and alleviate suffering on both sides.

  • Blinken's current visit is part of a broader effort by the Biden administration to achieve a ceasefire agreement and bring more aid into the besieged Gaza Strip. The Secretary of State is expected to visit Israel, Jordan, and Qatar to rally support for the ceasefire proposal.
  • The resignation of Israeli Minister of War Council Benny Gantz from Benjamin Netanyahu’s emergency government has introduced new complications. Gantz's departure could alter the dynamics of the Israeli cabinet, potentially affecting the acceptance of the ceasefire proposal.
  • The closure of the Rafah crossing point between Egypt and Gaza has exacerbated the humanitarian crisis, worsening food and medicine shortages. Blinken's talks with Egyptian President el-Sissi are expected to address reopening this critical humanitarian corridor.
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