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US Says “Real Progress” Has Been Made In Talks For Ceasefire, Release Of Hostages

Negotiations aimed at securing the release of hostages held by Hamas in Gaza have made “real progress,” according to a senior Biden administration official speaking after a 45-minute phone call between President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that focused primarily on the ongoing efforts to reach a deal.

Despite the presence of “significant” gaps, the Biden administration official noted that a resolution was “pretty much there,” with President Biden emphasizing the importance of capitalizing on the recent advances to ensure the hostages are released as soon as possible.

The negotiations have encountered challenges, notably Hamas’s initial “delusional” conditions for a new deal, which included the release of at least 1,500 Palestinian security prisoners and full Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, among other demands. The specifics of the progress since this impasse were not detailed.

During his call with Netanyahu, Biden also expressed opposition to an Israeli military operation in Rafah, Gaza’s last Hamas stronghold, without a clear plan to protect civilians. This comes as Netanyahu signals his determination to continue the offensive, with Hamas threatening to disrupt the hostage negotiations if Israeli troops proceed.

Egyptian officials have reportedly given Hamas a two-week ultimatum to reach a ceasefire agreement, warning of an IDF advance into Rafah otherwise.

The proposed framework for negotiations, developed in Paris and accepted by Israel as a negotiation basis, suggests a phased humanitarian pause leading to the release of Israeli hostages and the bodies of those killed. The details of the agreement, including the release of Palestinian prisoners, are yet to be finalized in subsequent talks.

Amid these developments, protests have erupted across Israel, with families of the hostages and their supporters calling for an immediate resolution.

(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)

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