Biden Claims Israel-Hamas "Deal" Is Close, But What The HECK Is He Talking About?

By Maria Angelino | Wednesday, 28 February 2024 04:10 PM
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President Joe Biden's recent assertion that a ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas is on the horizon has been met with skepticism from several key players involved in the negotiations.

Speaking to reporters in New York, Biden expressed optimism about the progress of the talks. "My national security adviser tells me that we're close," he said. "We're close. We're not done yet. My hope is by next Monday we'll have a ceasefire."

However, representatives from Hamas, Israel, and mediator Qatar have reportedly cast doubt on Biden's hopeful outlook. Two senior Hamas officials, who chose to remain anonymous, told Reuters that the main issues of the ceasefire and the withdrawal of Israeli forces are not clearly defined, which is causing delays in reaching an agreement. They further noted that there are "still big gaps to be bridged."

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Senior Israeli officials, who also requested anonymity, expressed confusion over the basis of Biden's optimism. As reported by the Israeli Ynet News website, they said they don't understand "what Biden's optimism is based on."

Qatar's foreign affairs ministry spokesman, Majed al-Ansari, echoed these sentiments. He told Reuters that the two sides needed to work harder to align their positions on a ceasefire deal. "We don't have a final agreement on any of the issues that are hampering reaching an agreement," al-Ansari said. "We remain hopeful, not necessarily optimistic that we can announce something today or tomorrow. But we remain hopeful that we can get to some kind of agreement."

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The White House has yet to respond to a request for comment on these developments.

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A reported framework of the potential deal includes a 40-day truce during which Hamas would release approximately 40 Israeli hostages—primarily women, individuals under 19 and over 50, and sick people. In return, Israel would release 400 Palestinian prisoners. The agreement would also require Israel's military to withdraw from populated areas in Gaza and allow Gazans who are not men of fighting age to return home.

In response to Hamas's Oct. 7 terror attacks, Israel has pledged to dismantle the group. Hamas, for its part, has stated that it will not release the hostages it holds without a framework to permanently end the war.

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