Biden pushes for a hostage deal next week, but Hamas not satisfied with US guarantee

Hamas expressed concerns over Israeli proposal, which does not guarantee that Israel would not resume figting in Gaza after the first phase - a temporary six-week cease-fire, the Wall Street Journal reveals

U.S. President Joe Biden is intensifying efforts to broker a deal between Israel and Hamas, sending two senior officials from his administration to the Middle East.
The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that CIA Director Bill Burns is currently in Doha, Qatar, and that the president’s special envoy to the region, Brett McGurk, was expected to arrive in Egypt on Wednesday. According to the report, the talks in Qatar and Cairo will focus on negotiations for a deal and the U.S. administration’s efforts to reopen the Rafah border crossing.
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נשיא ארה"ב ג'ו ביידן
נשיא ארה"ב ג'ו ביידן
Yahya Sinwar, Joe Biden, Benjamin Netanyahu
(Photo: AFP/EPA)
Amid the American push for a deal, based on the framework revealed by Biden over the weekend, Hamas Political Bureau Chief Ismail Haniyeh stated Wednesday evening that the terrorist organization is ready to discuss any agreement "seriously and positively" that is based on a complete end to the war and Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. In a statement, Haniyeh added that "Hamas is negotiating with this stance, representing the will of the Palestinian people and their steadfast resistance."
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant commented earlier on the potential renewal of negotiations. "We are in a process where we will continue to wear down the enemy. Any negotiations with the terrorist organization Hamas will only take place under fire," he said.
Gallant made these remarks following a flight over Gaza and the northern border, accompanied by Lt. Col. A., commander of Squadron 133. "I flew this morning with Squadron 133, F-15s. I saw all the IDF's combat zones – east, south, Gaza Strip, and Lebanon border – and you can clearly see the Israeli Air Force's performance, including in real time. The strikes and smoke plumes in areas targeted by the IDF are very evident, both in the Gaza Strip and in the north."
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שר הביטחון יואב גלנט לאחר  טיסה מעל עזה וגבול הצפון
שר הביטחון יואב גלנט לאחר  טיסה מעל עזה וגבול הצפון
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant after the flight across Israel
(Photo: Defense Ministry)
According to the Wall Street Journal, Hamas officials in talks with Egyptian officials expressed concerns that the Israeli proposal does not guarantee that after the first phase, a temporary six-week cease-fire, Israel would not resume fighting. Under Biden's plan, in the first phase, negotiations would begin for a permanent cease-fire and the release of all remaining hostages not included in the humanitarian categories. If the negotiations extend beyond six weeks, the temporary cease-fire will continue as long as talks are ongoing.
Israeli officials later clarified that they could resume fighting if they deem the negotiations "fruitless" and if Hamas appears to be stalling. Gallant's statement on Wednesday suggests that combat could resume if the second-phase negotiations do not conclude by the end of the six-week first phase, although he did not explicitly address this scenario and spoke in more general terms.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Hamas officials dismissed the notion that internal pressure within Israel or American guarantees would be sufficient for them to agree to a deal. Nonetheless, the report notes that a delegation of Palestinian factions, led by Hamas, is expected to arrive in Cairo this week to discuss the proposal. While Hamas has not confirmed the arrival of its representatives in the Egyptian capital, Islamic Jihad representatives are already there.
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