Blinken Reaffirms Support of Cease-Fire Deal to Netanyahu

In a joint operation, the Israel Defense Forces, the Israel Security Agency, and the Israeli Police helped rescue four hostages in the central Gaza Strip over the weekend. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday met with officials in Egypt and Israel to push forward a ceasefire deal.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met on June 10 with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, reaffirming Washington’s support of a cease-fire proposal submitted by Israel.

During his meeting with Mr. Netanyahu in Jerusalem, Mr. Blinken said the proposed deal would lead to an immediate cease-fire in Gaza, the release of all hostages in the hands of Hamas terrorists, and a significant increase in humanitarian aid across the war-torn enclave, according to a State Department spokesman.

The key elements of the three-phase Israeli proposal were unveiled in late May by President Joe Biden, who argued that Israel has successfully met its goal to reduce Hamas’s strength and that the time has arrived to push for a “full and complete cease-fire” paired with the release of the last remaining hostages.

“At this point, Hamas no longer is capable of carrying out another Oct. 7, just one of Israel’s main objectives in this war, and quite frankly a righteous one,” President Biden said at the White House.

Mr. Blinken assured Mr. Netanyahu of Washington’s “ironclad commitment to Israel’s security, including through ensuring October 7 can never be repeated.”

The top U.S. diplomat also reiterated the Biden administration’s belief that the cease-fire proposal would “unlock the possibility of calm along Israel’s northern border,” where exchanges of fire with the Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorist group in Lebanon have forced tens of thousands of Israeli residents to flee.

According to a readout from the State Department, the secretary also emphasized the importance of “preventing the conflict from spreading.” Since October 2023, the Gaza conflict has driven up tensions across the region, spreading to fronts with Lebanon and Syria and drawing long-range fire at Israeli and U.S. military targets from as far away as Yemen and Iraq.

Pressing for Peace

Earlier on June 10 in Egypt, Mr. Blinken called on governments throughout the Middle East to pressure Hamas into accepting the deal.

“My message to governments throughout the region, to people throughout the region is: If you want a cease-fire, press Hamas to say yes,” he said during a speech at Cairo International Airport.

“If you want to alleviate the terrible suffering of Palestinians in Gaza, press Hamas to say yes. If you want to get all the hostages home, press Hamas to say yes. If you want to put Israelis and Palestinians alike on the path to more durable peace and security, press Hamas to say yes. If you want to prevent this conflict from spreading, press Hamas to say yes.”

According to President Biden, the first phase of the Israeli proposal would last six weeks and involve the “withdrawal of Israeli forces from all populated areas of Gaza” and the “release of a number of hostages, including women, the elderly, the wounded in exchange for the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners.”

A second phase would include an “exchange for the release of all remaining living hostages, including male soldiers.” Israel would also pull out its troops from Gaza.

“As long as Hamas lives up to its commitments, the temporary cease-fire would become, in the words of the Israeli proposal, ‘the cessation of hostilities permanently,'” the president announced.

The third and final phase would involve a “major reconstruction plan for Gaza.” Any remains of hostages who’ve been killed would be returned to their families.

Hamas has so far remained silent on the cease-fire deal.

Israel carried out a successful rescue operation over the weekend and brought home four Israelis kidnapped by Hamas during the Oct. 7, 2023, attack. Among the captives freed by the dramatic rescue mission is Noa Argamani, a young woman who has emerged on social media as an icon of those suffering from Hamas’s atrocities.

The United States said it didn’t send U.S. troops for the operation but did provide intelligence support to Israel.

From The Epoch Times

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