US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken is set to begin a new tour in the Middle East on Sunday in an effort to secure an agreement that includes a ceasefire in Gaza and a prisoner swap between Israel and the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas). The potential agreement is increasing disputes within the war government in Tel Aviv.
The US State Department announced today, Friday, that Blinken will be visiting Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar, Israel and the West Bank from February 4 to 8.
The ministry said in a statement that the Foreign Minister would continue efforts to reach an agreement to release all “hostages” and a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, and continue to work to prevent the escalation of the conflict in the region.
Blinken's new visit comes after Qatar and the United States announced progress in talks aimed at concluding an agreement between Israel and Hamas, and proposals that were made at talks held in Paris with American, Qatari and Egyptian participation. Came as a result of.
The proposal on the table now stipulates the implementation of an extended ceasefire, which would include a phased exchange of a number of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for approximately 130 Israeli prisoners in Gaza, and this could ultimately prevent war.
Hamas confirmed that it had received the proposal and was in the process of studying it, and the movement has repeatedly stressed that any agreement would include a cessation of aggression and the withdrawal of Israeli occupation forces from the Gaza Strip. Should be included.
For her part, US Representative to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield today said her country is working tirelessly with Qatar, Egypt and other regional partners to put forward what she described as a strong and concrete proposal.
In a related development, Stephane Dujarric, a spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said the foreign minister and Qatar's Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani discussed efforts to end the fighting with Guterres. In Gaza, release detainees and support humanitarian operations.
– Al Jazeera Channel (@AJArabic) 2 February 2024
differences in israel
Meanwhile, disagreements raised by the resolution regarding prisoner exchanges, a ceasefire in Gaza and post-war arrangements threaten the collapse of the Israeli War Council.
The newspaper “Haaretz” quoted an official from the “Army” party led by War Council member Benny Gantz as saying that if the party got the impression that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected the prisoner exchange agreement, the party Israel will step down from the emergency government. For political considerations, and if Netanyahu declares military rule in Gaza.
Israeli media said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appealed to his allies in the Benny Gantz-led Camp Party not to leave the war government, indicating it would damage the unity of Israeli ranks.
Israeli media reported a leak of what happened at the mini-cabinet session for security and political affairs, which lasted late Thursday evening, and said Netanyahu had confirmed the debate among his ministers at the session. Resolved what he described as Israel's 3 conditions. Cannot accept to conclude exchange deal. New to Hamas prisoners.
It quotes Netanyahu as saying that his government cannot allow a ceasefire and end the war, and will not agree to the release of thousands of Palestinian prisoners, nor will it allow troops to leave the Gaza Strip.
While meeting with wounded soldiers, the Israeli Prime Minister pledged not to end the war before achieving complete victory.
For his part, Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid mocked the constant leaking of what happens at cabinet meetings and accused the prime minister of incompetence.
Israeli Channel 12 quoted members of the Security Mini-Ministerial Council as saying that a prisoner exchange deal is still a long way off, and a large number of ministers have expressed their reservations about the duration of the ceasefire and the stages of development of the deal. Most ministers demanded that they be included in the negotiation process and not be informed about it as a matter of course.
In this context, the Israeli Broadcasting Authority quoted sources as saying that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed with his former office director about neutralizing right-wing opposition to a possible prisoner deal.
The Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper also quoted a senior Israeli official as saying that the probability of a new prisoner deal is no more than 50%.
Hamas and Jihad are a condition
Meanwhile, the office of Hamas political bureau chief Ismail Haniyeh said he today held talks with Ziad al-Nakhla, secretary general of the Islamic Jihad movement, regarding the initiative to end aggression against Gaza.
The office said in a statement that Haniyeh and al-Nakhla stressed the need for any negotiations to end aggression, withdraw from the Israeli occupation, lift the siege on the Gaza Strip and the beginning of the Gaza Strip. All the necessities of life to his people.