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Israel hostage rescue and the worsening human toll
Israel hostage rescue & the worsening human toll | Ian Bremmer | Quick Take

Israel hostage rescue and the worsening human toll

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here and a Quick Take to kick off your week.

Lots of things going on right now, but perhaps, the issue that's gotten most of the news around the Middle East conflict and the issue of the hostages being rescued. Four hostages, some eight months now, being held. Over 100 still that we know of by Hamas in Gaza.

But four of them were rescued by an Israeli Defense Forces operation over the weekend. Not released, as some including, in a chyron, an interview I was in over the weekend, were saying released. No, rescued. Hamas has not released anyone, and there is no agreement going forward, and unlikely in the near term, despite lots of efforts from everyone around the world to get an agreement.

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FILE PHOTO: A woman walks past a Blue and White party election campaign banner depicting its leader, Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz, alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ahead of the March 23 ballot, in Tel Aviv, Israel March 14, 2021.

REUTERS/Corinna Kern/File Photo

Israel rescues hostages, Gantz resigns

In a daytime raid on the Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza on Saturday, Israeli special forces rescued four hostages abducted by Hamas at the Nova Music Festival on Oct. 7. The group included Noa Argamani, 26, one of the most widely recognized hostages, whose mother Liora is suffering from late-stage brain cancer.

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Israel attacks Iran
Israel attacks Iran | Ian Bremmer | Quick Take

Israel attacks Iran

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here and a Quick Take on the latest in the Middle East crisis. And things actually looking a little bit more stable today than they have over the past couple of weeks. And that is some very welcome news.

The headlines, of course, that the Iranians have been hit by Israel, though no one is saying that Israel has admitted to doing it, in the town of Isfahan. Clearly, military targets and the Iranians trying to knock down those missiles coming over. But this was a significantly more restrained attack than what the Israelis did to kick off this crisis, which was attack an Iranian government building in Damascus and target and assassinate a senior Iranian leader. That led to the Iranian response that we saw over the weekend, which was a significant and serious one, with a few hundred missiles and drones. And now we are in the escalatory portion of the cycle.

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Israel, Hamas and US in impasse over cease-fire deal
US-Israel in impasse over cease-fire deal | Ian Bremmer | Quick Take

Israel, Hamas and US in impasse over cease-fire deal

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hi everybody. Ian Bremmer here and a Quick Take to kick off your week. And I want to talk a little bit about the Middle East because the war is very much still going on.

There's been hope, a lot of hope that we would have had a breakthrough deal for an extended cease fire, not a permanent cease fire, the cease fire of some six weeks, and that in return, significant numbers, dozens of the hostages that are still held after many months by Hamas in Gaza would have been released to their families in Israel. That has not happened. And it's not happened in large part because Hamas has refused to continue to negotiate. They basically said we want a permanent cease fire or nothing. And they are essentially daring the Israelis to go ahead with ground strikes in Rafah, where we have about 1.5 million Palestinians that are sheltering. “I have nowhere to go.” And the Americans are very unhappy with the idea that the Israelis would engage in that battle without having a plan for evacuation and protecting those civilians. Hamas is saying “go for it if that's what you want to do.” They're putting, as they have all the way through, their civilians at maximum risk. They're not trying to defend them.

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US inching away from Israel on Gaza war
US inching away from Israel on Gaza war | Ian Bremmer | Quick Take

US inching away from Israel on Gaza war

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here and a Quick Take to kick off your week. And the war in Gaza continues apace. We don't yet have an agreement between Israel and Hamas for a near-term cease fire and for more hostages to be released. Everyone is saying that it's imminent. The Israelis essentially have accepted the terms that have been put forward now by the United States, by Qatar, by Egypt.

Hamas has not yet. But it looks very close. Meanwhile, the United States continues to publicly inch further away from the war position of Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu. This is hurting the US on the global stage with its allies, with the Global South. It's hurting the United States and Biden in particular at home as well with his constituents in an election year.

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A Palestinian woman reacts to an Israeli airstrike amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on March 3, 2024.

REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

Israel no-shows Gaza ceasefire talks

On Sunday, Israel boycotted talks in Cairo after Hamas rejected its demand for a list of hostages who still remain alive, though other parties carried on. Hope for a Gaza cease-fire is fading despite earlier US optimism that a deal was possible ahead of next week’s Ramadan deadline.

On Saturday, a US official told reporters that Israel had agreed to the framework of a deal and "the onus right now is on Hamas” to respond. But in addition to the rejected demand for a hostage list, the proposal does not meet Hamas’ main demand for a permanent end to the war, and a Palestinian official told Reuters the deal was ”not there yet” after Hamas officials arrived in Cairo.

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As Israel presses conflict, US frustration grows
Biden frustrated by Israel's insistence on conflict | Ian Bremmer | Quick Take

As Israel presses conflict, US frustration grows

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here and a Quick Take to kick off your week. Of course it is the Middle East that we are first and foremost exercised about. Not the biggest topic in Europe for the Munich Security Conference. That was Navalny and Russia and Ukraine. But back in the United States and for most of the rest of the world, it is still the Middle East.

And that is in part because there is less optimism about an imminent deal on the remaining hostages, which has led the Israeli government to step up the pressure, saying if you don't give all of the hostages back, in short order, that they're going to engage in ground warfare against Rafah, where over a million Palestinians are sheltering, if we can call it that, having already been resettled from other parts in the rest of Gaza, and they have nowhere to go.

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US aid for Israel & Ukraine hangs in the balance
TITLE PLACEHOLDER | Ian Bremmer | World In :60

US aid for Israel & Ukraine hangs in the balance

Ian Bremmer shares his insights on global politics this week on World In :60.

Will the House pass the Senate-approved aid package for Ukraine and Israel?

Well, certainly not if the Freedom Caucus and the Speaker of the House have anything to say about it. So, I mean, as of today, what the Senate has passed with a lot of Republicans on board looks dead in the House. But of course, the ability to jam the House and force them to accept something or there's no government funding, that is a game of chicken that we've seen before and the Senate may well continue to be ready to play. So it is not dead yet, but aid is looking challenging. And let's be clear, irrespective of what happens for 2024, it's going to be very hard to get any more aid for the Ukrainians going forward. And everybody is deeply aware of that reality.

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