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Hamas and Bibi are both obstacles to a cease-fire

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Tuesday Oct 17, 2023.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Tuesday Oct 17, 2023.

REUTERS

The US, Qatar, and Egypt are scrambling to secure a new truce in Gaza that would see more hostages released, but major obstacles remain. Hamas on Tuesday said it responded to a recent proposal for a temporary pause in the fighting with a “positive spirit,” but reiterated its demands for a permanent cease-fire and an end to Israel’s offensive in the coastal enclave.


President Joe Biden called Hamas’ response “a little over the top.” Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken – who’s in the Middle East this week – said a deal was “possible” but conceded there’s still “a lot of work to be done.”

A fight for survival. Hamas’ demands, designed to ensure it retains control of Gaza, are fundamentally at odds with the primary goal of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: the complete destruction of the militant group. Though Netanyahu’s objective appears increasingly unattainable, he’s shown no willingness to compromise, and there’s a growing perception in Israel that the embattled leader views the war as a political lifeline.

Blinken said he’ll discuss Hamas’ response to the proposal with the Israeli government on Wednesday. We’ll be watching to see how Israel reacts to Hamas’ terms, and whether the news that at least 31 of the remaining 136 hostages in Gaza are dead will influence the direction of the negotiations.

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