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Tensions mount as Israel says US allowed Hamas to blindside Israel with revised hostage deal offer

Jerusalem caught by ‘complete surprise’ and feels ‘played’ by Biden admin

US President Joe Biden (left) and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu (Original photos: Arie Leib Abrams and Yonatan Sindel/Flash90).

Israel feels “played” by the United States, Qatar and Egypt after Hamas’ surprise announcement that it had accepted a hostage deal proposal on Monday evening, officials told news website Axios on Tuesday.

The Israeli government was caught by “complete surprise” by the statement that came just as Israeli troops were about to launch a limited incursion into Rafah, an Israeli source told the Times of Israel.

Israeli officials declared the announcement to be a ploy meant to prevent Israel’s incursion into Rafah, adding that Hamas had agreed to an offer that Israel never approved.

They also charged that the Biden administration was aware of the proposal negotiated by Egypt and Qatar but failed to warn Israel before Hamas announced its acceptance on Monday.

Speaking to Axios, the officials said Egypt gave the Hamas delegation the new proposal last weekend before the terror group made additional changes with the knowledge of Biden administration officials, including CIA Director Bill Burns who was in Cairo at the time.

Burns allegedly did not update Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant when the two spoke on the phone Monday morning, and the U.S. allowed Israel to be blindsided by the announcement in the evening.

Israel feels it “got played” by the U.S. and the other mediators, the officials told Axios.

According to the same report, a senior U.S. official pushed back, saying: “American diplomats have been engaged with Israeli counterparts. There have been no surprises,” and pointed to the complex negotiation process carried out through several intermediaries.

He added the Biden administration saw Hamas’ response as a counter-proposal instead of a new deal. Israel has meanwhile received the detailed proposal Hamas agreed to and was studying it, according to officials.

The outline includes demands Israel has rejected numerous ties, including an end to the war, and Hamas’ intention to include dead hostages in the 33 hostages set to be released in the first stage of the deal.

“We think the Americans conveyed the message to Hamas that it will be okay when it comes to ending the war,” a senior Israeli official said.

The reports indicating deep suspicion between the governments come against the background of reports by The Wall Street Journal on Monday, that the Biden administration caused the sale of 6,500 Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMs) to Israel to be delayed.

According to WSJ, the U.S. Congress was informed of the sale in January but, since then, the administration hasn’t moved forward.

“It’s unusual, especially for Israel, especially during a war,” said a congressional official familiar with the arms sales process.

On Monday, White House National Security Council Spokesman John Kirby did not comment on whether any arms sales to Israel had been put on hold per official policy.

“Our security commitments to Israel are ironclad,” he said during the White House briefing.

In addition, Washington has not advanced an additional $1 billion in weapons sales to Israel, including critical ammunition and was announced in March.

“The United States has surged billions of dollars in security assistance to Israel since the October 7 attacks, passed the largest ever supplemental appropriation for emergency assistance to Israel,” the State Department spokesman said.

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

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