Wed 12 Jun 2024 2:59 pm - Jerusalem Time

Blinken in Qatar after Hamas responded to the truce proposal

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken arrived on Wednesday in Qatar, the main mediator, to hold talks at a time when the Hamas movement presented its response to a proposal led by Washington for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Blinken, who is on a four-country tour in the Middle East to push Hamas to accept a truce proposal, will meet with the senior leadership in Qatar, which conveyed messages to the armed Palestinian movement.

Blinken is scheduled to meet in Doha with the Emir of the country, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, and his Prime Minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman Al Thani, who also holds the position of Qatar’s Foreign Minister.

Blinken will head later Wednesday to Italy to join Biden at the summit of the Group of Seven major industrialized countries.

Amendments to the Biden plan

Late Tuesday, Hamas proposed amendments in response to the plan presented by President Joe Biden on May 31, including a timetable for a ceasefire and full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza, according to a source familiar with the talks.

The White House confirmed that the United States is "studying" the movement's official response.

In the first phase, Biden's plan stipulates an immediate ceasefire for six weeks and the release of hostages in exchange for the release of Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons, and "the withdrawal of Israeli forces from populated areas in Gaza."

An American effort to end the war

Biden seeks to end the war that caused heavy civilian casualties and turned parts of the electoral base in his Democratic Party against him months before the elections.

Blinken confirmed on Tuesday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "reaffirmed his commitment" to the ceasefire plan, even though his government, which includes members of the extreme right, did not officially support it.

He added, "We are awaiting a response from Hamas," indicating that the movement is awaiting instructions from the head of its political office in the Gaza Strip, Yahya Al-Sinwar.

"Are they waiting for someone who may now be safe or buried, I don't know, 10 floors underground somewhere in Gaza, while the people he says he represents are still suffering in the crossfire that was going on," Blinken told reporters in Tel Aviv. He himself is behind him.”


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Blinken in Qatar after Hamas responded to the truce proposal