On Sunday evening, following a conversation in which U.S. President Joe Biden asked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to send an Israeli delegation to the ongoing hostage release talks in Cairo, a Biden administration official said the president is determined to achieve a deal between Israel and Hamas, saying failure is not an option, and adding that he will deal with Netanyahu with “tough love."
Biden sees this as an opportunity to achieve a humanitarian cease-fire, and possibly halt Israel's efforts to conduct a military operation in Rafah. During the conversation with the Israeli premier, Biden emphasized his concern that such an operation could lead to a disaster, since there are over a million Palestinian refugees currently holed up in the area, mostly living in tents. Additionally, they discussed the humanitarian aid that goes into the Gaza Strip, with Biden emphasizing that 200 trucks need to be able to enter the enclave on a daily basis.
Netanyahu has assembled a War Cabinet meeting after the conversation, in which he discussed Israel’s participation in the Cairo talks following President Biden's request. Israel is conditioning its participation in these talks on a deal that would help jumpstart another hostage release, but both Benny Gantz and Gadi Eizenkot claim Netanyahu is stalling. Additionally, Israeli officials claim Netanyahu is in no position to refuse the president's request, explaining that refusing to attend these talks would be followed by international condemnation for torpedoing another deal.
Concurrently, Opposition Leader Yair Lapid met with French president Emmanuel Macron in Paris, where the two leaders discussed the hostages currently held in Gaza. “Many hostages are currently in Hamas tunnels, and must be brought back home,” Lapid said. They discussed international efforts to bring home the hostages, as well as the need to alleviate the Lebanese threat in order to make sure northern residents are able to return to their homes.
First published: 12:21, 02.12.24