United States: President Joe Biden on Friday issued a letter to the leaders of Egypt and Qatar to press Hamas for an abduct deal with Israel, according to a senior administration official. The letter came one day after Biden talked to the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, asking him to redouble the efforts to reach a cease-fire in the six-month-old war in Gaza, as reported by The Associated Press.

Diplomatic Channels Open

An official has appealed anonymity to discuss the letters shared that Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, will be meeting with some of the hostage families on Monday, whose number, according to some estimates, could reach 100 people being held in Gaza.

The letters to the Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and to Qatar’s ruling emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, came at the time when Biden dispatched CIA Director Bill Burns to Cairo for talks this weekend over the hostage crisis.

White House officials say conducting a dialog with the mediator of Hamas and Israel within the frame of the exchange of hostages held in Gaza for Palestinian prisoners in Israel is the means to allow a temporary truce to come true and improve humanitarian aid into the territory.

Biden, during his talk with Netanyahu, “made clear that everything must be done to secure the release of hostages, including American citizens,” and Bidem mentioned “the importance of fully empowering Israeli negotiators to reach a deal.” At first, the deal made would entail the release of women as well as the sick and elderly, the wounded and the sick.

John Kirby emphasized the point during Friday’s press briefing that President Biden pressed for the release of a hostage deal with Prime Minister Netanyahu during their discussion on Thursday, where there was mostly talk about the Israeli airstrike that killed seven World Central Kitchen workers.

“We are coming up on six months — six months that these people have been held hostage. And what we have to consider is just the disgusting conditions” the hostages are being held in, Kirby said. “They need to be home with their families.”

Biden had been optimistic about a truce until Ramadan observance came, and a deal on hostages seemed near, yet no deal was struck.

Concerns Mount

The White House said in a statement on Thursday after a telephone conversation between Biden and Netanyahu that the U.S. President expressed the desire to reach an “immediate cease-fire” as a condition for the release of the hostages, sending an urgent message to Israel to reach such a deal “without delay.”

White House officials say that the president is becoming very nervous about Israel’s prolonging of an indecisive war that has taken over 33,000 Palestinian lives.

Humanitarian Crisis

The conflict in Gaza started on July 30, 2014, when Hamas militants set out in small groups from southern Gaza and entered Israeli territory, killing 1,200 people – mostly civilians, and taking around 250 people hostages, as reported by The Associated Press.

The Israeli military attack on Gaza, experts noted, is one of the heaviest and most destructive in recent years. With possibly more destruction in merely two months, this attack has exceeded the destruction that was caused through the ruining of Syria’s Aleppo between 2012 and 2016, compared to the ruining of Ukraine’s Mariupol or proportionally to the Allied bombing that occurred in Germany during the World War II. It has caused more civilian casualties than the U.S. coalition did in its three-year campaign against the Islamic State.


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