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US sees Israeli ’willingness’ for Gaza deal

BI Desk || BusinessInsider

Published: 01:30, 4 June 2024  
US sees Israeli ’willingness’ for Gaza deal

Photo: Collected

Israel has shown willingness to agree to a ceasefire and hostage release deal set out by US President Joe Biden and it is up to Hamas to make a move, a top White House official said Monday.

US National Security Jake Sullivan's comments came despite growing doubts over the plan, which Biden described as an Israeli initiative but has seen mixed reactions from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government.

"We've seen again over the weekend from Israel a willingness to step forward and do a deal," Sullivan told the Global Impact Forum in Washington, reports BSS/AFP.

"All of those people who have been calling for a ceasefire for all of this time, they need to train their eyes on Hamas this week and say, 'it's time come to the table, do this deal.'"

Sullivan, who has made a series of visits to the Middle East since Hamas's October 7 attacks on Israel triggered the war, said a deal would be the "best thing" for the people of Gaza, Israel and the United States.

Biden on Friday presented what he labelled an Israeli three-phase plan that would end the conflict, free all hostages and lead to the reconstruction of the devastated Palestinian territory without Hamas in power.

However, Netanyahu's office quickly stressed that Israel would push on with the war until all of its goals including the end of Hamas as a military and political force are achieved.

A government spokesman added on Monday that the Israeli premier viewed the plan Biden set out as "partial."

Hamas on Friday said it viewed Biden's outline "positively", but since then it has made no official comment.

The White House insisted on Monday that the peace plan was Israel's own, and not drafted by Washington to put pressure on its key ally.

"It is an Israeli proposal. It's one that we, and they, worked on through some intense diplomacy," National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters.

Biden informed Israel in advance that he would make the announcement, he said.

"The president felt that it was important to lay it out there publicly so that the whole world could see what was in here," added Kirby.