Middle East Crisis: Israel Awaits Hamas Response to Cease-Fire Plan as Blinken Returns to Mideast
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Israel is waiting for Hamas officials to respond to a proposal to pause the fighting in the Gaza Strip and release the remaining hostages there, as Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken headed back to the region seeking to rally support for such a deal.
A broadcaster affiliated with Hamas, Al-Aqsa, reported on Sunday that Hamas was still holding consultations on the proposal, a week after it was formulated.
Mr. Blinken, who was set to visit Saudi Arabia first, is hoping to advance talks on a series of interlocking deals to end the war in Gaza, and a deal for a hostage release will be central to that effort.
Jake Sullivan, President Biden's national security adviser, told CBS's Face the Nation on Sunday that the ball is in Hamas's court. A deal that would release hostages, pause fighting and allow humanitarian aid to reach Gaza is of paramount importance, he added. We're going to press for it relentlessly, as the president has done, including recently in calls with the leaders of Egypt and Qatar, the two countries that are our central brokers in this effort, Mr. Sullivan said.
Read at www.nytimes.com
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