All Israel

Netanyahu and Biden speak ahead of Hamas’ response to hostage proposal

US president highlights recent joint statement by US and 17 other countries, which demanded immediate release of remaining Israeli hostages held by Hamas

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks on the phone with US President Joe Biden, Oct. 2023. (Photo: GPO)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Joe Biden on Sunday evening spoke about the ongoing joint efforts to secure the return of the remaining 133 hostages being held captive in Gaza by Hamas terrorists.

During his phone conversation with Netanyahu, Biden highlighted the recent joint statement by the United States and 17 other countries, which demanded the immediate release of the remaining hostages held by Hamas, including some with dual citizenship.

“We call for the immediate release of all hostages held by Hamas in Gaza now for over 200 days. They include our citizens,” the 18 world leaders wrote in their statement.

“The fate of the hostages and the civilian population in Gaza, who are protected under international law is of international concern,” the international leaders wrote, adding that the release of the hostages would be linked to a truce and an increase in humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip.

The U.S. further confirmed that Biden affirmed Washington’s “ironclad” commitment to Israel's security and that the president repeated his “clear position” on the planned Israeli military operation against Hamas' last main stronghold in the southern Gazan city of Rafah.

Biden administration officials have expressed concerns about the IDF's planned ground incursion into Rafah because of the more than one million Gazan civilians currently residing there. In March, Biden was opposed to the Rafah operation and suggested that senior U.S. and Israeli officials find an alternative approach.

However, Israel has insisted that eliminating Hamas’ remaining forces in Rafah is essential to dismantle the terror organization as a military force in Gaza.

Israel has simultaneously vowed to protect the civilians in the area and recently expanded humanitarian zones ahead of the expected Rafah operation. Senior Israeli officials warned Hamas repeatedly that unless the hostages are soon released, Israel Defense Forces will launch a military incursion into Rafah.

An unnamed senior Hamas official reportedly told the AFP news outlet that Hamas has “no major issues” with the latest deal proposal, mediated by Egypt, which is widely seen as Israel’s final offer.

“The atmosphere is positive unless there are new Israeli obstacles. There are no major issues in the observations and inquiries submitted by Hamas regarding the contents,” the unnamed Hamas official reportedly said.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken who attended a World Economic Forum panel discussion in Saudi Arabia, emphasized that Hamas "needs to decide and it needs to decide quickly" on the proposal, which he described as "extraordinarily generous."

If implemented, Israel would agree to a truce of unspecified length in exchange for the release of a publicly unspecified number of hostages. Blinken expressed hope that Hamas leadership would “make the right decision” by accepting the proposal.

There are growing concerns that many of the 133 remaining hostages are no longer alive. The families of the hostages have stressed that time is running out to rescue their loved ones from captivity.

Israel reportedly recently agreed to an Egyptian-mediated deal, which would release fewer than 40 hostages, mainly women, elderly and sick individuals.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

All Israel
Receive latest news & updates
    A message from All Israel News
    Help us educate Christians on a daily basis about what is happening in Israel & the Middle East and why it matters.
    For as little as $5, you can support ALL ISRAEL NEWS, a non-profit media organization that is supported by readers like you.
    Donate to ALL ISRAEL NEWS
    Popular Articles
    Latest Stories