Biden and Netanyahu are talking about a Cease-Fire and Hostage Deal

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President Biden spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel on Sunday to discuss the prospects of a possible cease-fire deal to secure the release of hostages held by Hamas, while repeating his warnings about a new Israeli assault on the city of Rafah in southern Gaza, officials said.
Mr. Blinken headed to Saudi Arabia, where he will see Egyptian and Qatari officials who have served as intermediaries with Hamas in the cease-fire and hostage talks, which remain in a stalemate.
The State Department announced while Mr. Blinken was in flight on Sunday that after attending a meeting of the World Economic Forum in Riyadh, he would also stop in Jordan and Israel.
“That’s going to be right at the top of the list for Secretary Blinken, to keep pushing for this temporary cease-fire,” John F. Kirby, a national security spokesman for the White House, said on “This Week” on ABC.
“We want it to last for about six weeks.
An administration official said that about three-quarters of Mr. Biden’s nearly hourlong call to Mr. Netanyahu focused on the possible cease-fire and hostages deal.
During the call, the president agreed that the onus remained on Hamas to accept the latest proposal, the official said.
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While reiterating his warnings about a potential Israeli attack on the city of Rafah in southern Gaza, President Biden spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday to explore the possibility of a cease-fire agreement to secure the release of hostages held by Hamas, according to officials.

The purpose of the call was to free up space for Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken embarked on his most recent Middle East trip with the intention of reducing the intensity of the Gaza War, departing Washington mere hours prior on Sunday. Mr. Dot Blinken left for Saudi Arabia, where he will meet with representatives from Egypt and Qatar who have acted as go-betweens for Hamas in the ongoing cease-fire and hostage negotiations, which are at a standstill.

While Mr. Blinken was in the air on Sunday, the State Department made the announcement that he would be making stops in Jordan and Israel in addition to attending a World Economic Forum meeting in Riyadh. In the Biden administration’s attempts to mediate a ceasefire, expand humanitarian aid, and secure the release of over 100 hostages thought to be held in Gaza since October, the secretary has played a crucial role. 7 terrorist attack spearheaded by Hamas.

John F. said, “That will be Secretary Blinken’s top priority as he continues to push for this interim cease-fire.”. White House spokesman for national security Kirby stated on ABC’s “This Week.”. “We anticipate it lasting roughly six weeks. It will, of course, facilitate easier access for aid to areas of Gaza, especially in the north, and enable the release of all those hostages. “.

In addition, he has been guiding conversations about what will happen when the war is finished. Even though Israel is still fighting in Gaza and has not yet fully eradicated Hamas, Mr. Blinken expects to meet with Arab and European officials in a group setting to discuss plans for rebuilding the region during his visit to Saudi Arabia, according to a State Department official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

About 75% of Mr. Biden’s almost hour-long conversation with Mr. Netanyahu, according to an administration official, was devoted to discussing the potential cease-fire and hostage agreement. Israeli officials have declared that they have accepted the U.S. s. -drafted plan, and they have attributed the inability to come to a consensus to Hamas, which they consider to have been unhelpful. The official said that the president acknowledged during the call that Hamas still had the responsibility to approve the most recent proposal.

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