Blinken Presses Hamas to Accept Israeli Terms for Ceasefire

( – U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is urging Hamas to accept a recent Israeli ceasefire proposal, calling the deal “very generous” while speaking at the World Economic Forum in Riyadh on April 29th. The administration is eager to cement a mega-deal that would include the normalization of Israeli-Saudi Arabian diplomacy, but major obstacles remain, including the war in Gaza and the absence of a path to Palestinian statehood.

White House officials understand that the longer the war continues the worse the optics are for Biden, harming his chances at winning reelection in November. The war is incredibly unpopular with Democrat-aligned voters, unlike the war in Ukraine.

Hamas and Israel will negotiate the terms of a new deal this week. Blinken said he’s strongly advising Hamas to accept the terms and end the conflict, despite any perceived failings. He called acceptance “the right decision.” If the deal fails to result in a ceasefire, Israel will likely attack the southern city of Rafah where a majority of the territory’s 2 million residents have taken refuge.

Blinken said the administration opposes any military action in Rafah without a plan to protect innocent civilians. Thus far, the Israelis have not presented any such plan. A phone call over the weekend between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Biden featured the latter informing the prior that Hamas has to accept the terms as offered or with very little compromise.

The two also allegedly discussed the release of a recent video featuring two Americans who are still being held in Gaza.

Blinken is in Saudi Arabia to help facilitate the mega-deal between Israel and the kingdom which includes a bilateral defense agreement and normalization of diplomatic relations. The deal would also facilitate the development of Saudi nuclear power generation.

Blinken suggested that regional leaders will have to choose between continuing the cycle of violence or integrating civil-minded states in the region in opposition to radicals in Iran and elsewhere.

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