Hamas officials were still evaluating the framework for a proposal to stop fighting in the Gaza Strip and free Israeli hostages who have been held captive for almost four months, a broadcaster affiliated with the group said Sunday, a week after negotiators will formulate the proposal.
The station, Al-Aqsareported that Hamas was still holding consultations on the proposal.
Group leaders had previously noted that substantial differences remained between the two sides, even when representatives of United States, Egypt and Qatarr were looking for common ground.
Jake SullivanPresident Joe Biden's national security adviser, told CBS' “Face the Nation” that “the ball is in Hamas's court.”
An agreement that frees the hostages, ends the fighting and allows humanitarian aid to reach Gaza is important.”primordial“he added.
An image taken from southern Israel, on the border with the Gaza Strip, on December 27, 2023, shows destroyed buildings in northern Gaza following Israeli shelling amid ongoing fighting between Israel and the militant group Palestinian Hamas. (Photo by JACK GUEZ / AFP)
“We are going to push for it tirelessly, as the president has done, even recently in calls with the leaders of Egypt and Qatar, the two countries that are our central intermediaries in this effort,” Sullivan said.
The October 7 attacks, led by Hamas, in which, according to Israeli authorities, some 1.200 personas and more than 200 were taken hostage, prompting a harsh military response from Israel and triggering a broader crisis in the Middle East.
Israel has exchanged fire with members of Hezbollah in Lebanon, and the Houthi militia that controls part of Yemen has fired on ships traveling to and from the Suez Canal.
Other Iranian-backed militants have launched attacks on US bases in the region, including a recent one that killed three US soldiers in Jordan.
The United States has responded to the Houthi attacks with repeated attacks, including the one on Sunday, and the attack by Jordan with another series of military strikes this weekend against Iranian forces and the militias they support in seven locations in Syria and Iraq.
Senior U.S. national security officials said Sunday that plans were still underway. more retaliation against Iranian-backed militias.
But Sullivan said he believed those efforts were a separate issue of talks aimed at reaching a ceasefire agreement that has eluded both sides since a week-long pause in November.
“We believe that the steps we took on Friday and the steps we took against the Houthis last night are not related to the hostage negotiations,” he told NBC's “Meet the Press.”
“And we believe that now, at this moment, it is up to Hamas to come forward and respond to what is a serious proposal.”
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