Blinken Says Hamas Has an 'Extraordinarily Generous' Ceasefire Proposal from Israel

US urges Hamas to accept Israel's "extraordinarily generous" ceasefire proposal to end the 7-month Gaza conflict and avert a humanitarian crisis.

Nimrah Khatoon
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Blinken Urges Hamas to Accept Israel's 'Extraordinarily Generous' Ceasefire Proposal

Blinken Urges Hamas to Accept Israel's 'Extraordinarily Generous' Ceasefire Proposal

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Riyadh, stated that Hamas has received an "extraordinarily generous" proposal from Israel and urged the Palestinian militant group to make a decision quickly. Blinken called the ongoing Israeli war in Gaza the "worst crisis since 1948" and renewed US opposition to an Israeli offensive on Gaza's southernmost city of Rafah, where over 1 million displaced Palestinians are sheltering. The US Secretary of State also said that the only thing standing between the people of Gaza and a ceasefire is 'Hamas'.

Blinken said the US is trying to bring the Gaza conflict to an end and prevent it from spreading to the wider region. He expressed hope that Hamas would accept Israel's offer, which includes the release of hostages held by Hamas in exchange for halting the Gaza offensive. Blinken emphasized that the best way to address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza is to negotiate a ceasefire agreement.

Why this matters: The Gaza conflict, now in its seventh month, has resulted in widespread destruction and a dire humanitarian situation. A ceasefire deal between Israel and Hamas could prevent further escalation and allow for the delivery of much-needed aid to the Gaza Strip.

Blinken arrived in Riyadh on a crisis tour aimed at pushing for a ceasefire and increasing humanitarian aid to Gaza. He is expected to meet with Gulf Arab and European foreign ministers to discuss 'day-after' plans for the reconstruction of post-war Gaza, including funding and support for new governance structures.

The US, Egypt, and Qatar have been trying to mediate a new truce between Israel and Hamas for months, as public pressure mounts for a deal. A Hamas delegation is set to visit Cairo on Monday to deliver their response to Israel's latest phased truce proposal, which includes an agreement to accept the release of fewer than 40 hostages in exchange for releasing Palestinians held in Israeli jails.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas warned that even a "small strike" on Rafah would force the Palestinian population to flee the Gaza Strip, calling it the "biggest catastrophe in the Palestinian people's history." The US has urged Israel to refrain from attacking Rafah due to concerns over potential civilian casualties.

Blinken's visit comes after a phone call between President Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu about ongoing talks to halt Israel's offensive in Gaza in return for the release of hostages. They also discussed increased aid deliveries and preparations to open new crossings into Gaza.

According to a senior Hamas official, the group has "no major issues" with the latest ceasefire proposal from Israel and Egypt. While Hamas has previously insisted on a permanent ceasefire, which Israel has rejected, the latest Israeli proposal includes a willingness to discuss the "restoration of sustainable calm" in Gaza after hostages are released.

Key Takeaways

  • Blinken says Hamas received "extraordinarily generous" proposal from Israel
  • US opposes Israeli offensive on Rafah, home to 1M displaced Palestinians
  • Ceasefire deal could prevent escalation, allow aid delivery to Gaza
  • Hamas delegation to visit Cairo to respond to Israel's truce proposal
  • Abbas warns even "small strike" on Rafah could force mass displacement