US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that a cease-fire and hostage-release agreement between Israel and Hamas was still possible, despite the two sides being far apart on the central terms for a deal, Matthew Lee Tia Goldenberg and Wafaa Shurafa reported for the Associated Press (AP).
Blinken was in the region trying to broker an arrangement that could bring some respite in Israel’s war against Hamas. I Photo: Freddie Everett, U.S. Department of State Flickr
Blinken was in the region trying to broker an arrangement that could bring some respite in Israel’s war against Hamas, which is entering its fifth month after killing more than 27,000 Palestinians, displacing much of the territory’s population and sparking a humanitarian catastrophe.
Those diplomatic efforts were rattled earlier in the day when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected a detailed, three-phase plan by Hamas that would unfold over 4-1/2 months.
The plan stipulated that all hostages would be released in exchange for hundreds of Palestinians imprisoned by Israel, including senior militants, and an end to the war.
Netanyahu, who called Hamas’ plan “delusional,” dismissed any proposal that leaves the militant group in full or partial control of Gaza.
Netanyahu said military pressure was the best way to free the roughly 100 hostages held in the Gaza Strip, where they were taken after Hamas’ cross-border rampage into southern Israel on Oct. 7, which sparked the war, Samy Magdy, Josef Federman and Abby Sewell also reported for AP.