US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, dismisses Hamas plan
US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, has rejected a proposal by Hamas for the release of Israeli hostages, calling it “delusional”. The plan, which suggested a 135-day timeline for the release of prisoners, was deemed unacceptable by Blinken. Despite this, he expressed a desire to continue negotiations, emphasizing that such discussions are fluid and require compromise.
Israeli hostages and Palestinian prisoners at the center of the proposal
Under the Hamas proposal, Israeli hostages would be released in stages, starting with women and children. In return, 1,500 Palestinian prisoners held in Israel, including 500 chosen by Hamas, would be released. The plan also outlined the full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza after the first 45-day phase.
Blinken criticizes civilian casualties, but acknowledges Israeli efforts
While rejecting the Hamas proposal, Blinken also criticized Israel for the civilian casualties resulting from the ongoing conflict in Gaza. However, he acknowledged that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have made efforts to protect civilians. Blinken urged Israel to further strengthen civilian protection measures and provide assistance to those in need.
Seeking a diplomatic path to peace
In his statement, Blinken reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to pursuing a diplomatic solution for a just and lasting peace in the region. He referenced Saudi Arabia’s openness to formalizing ties with Israel, on the condition that Palestinians are granted a clear path to an independent state. However, Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has rejected this proposition.
In conclusion, while rejecting the Hamas proposal for the release of Israeli hostages, Blinken expressed hope for continued negotiations. He also urged Israel to prioritize the protection of civilians in the ongoing conflict. The Secretary of State emphasized the need for a diplomatic path towards peace and security for all parties involved in the region.