President Joe Biden and his administration have been trying frantically to stall Israel from starting its full-scale invasion of Gaza, hoping that by doing so, they’ll be able to advance negotiations to release the more than 200 hostages that Hamas is still holding.
A report that came out over the weekend stated that this development comes just as Israel is increasing its bombing of Gaza, which is expected to just be the precursor to what is being termed an “all-out invasion,” as The New York Post wrote.
In addition to fighting Hamas in Gaza, Israel is also fighting along the Lebanon border. Plus, Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel, recently warned that if Hezbollah, the terrorist group located in Lebanon, “decides to enter the war … it will be the mistake of its life.”
Sources who were familiar with the talks spoke with CNN recently and said that some of the top U.S. officials are doing all they can to hold off Israel from this huge invasion of Gaza. Their hope is that by doing so, they’ll be able to free more hostages who are being held in Palestinian territory.
After two citizens of the U.S. were released on Friday, one of the officials said:
“The [administration] pressed Israeli leadership to delay because of progress on the hostage front.”
That being said, one senior official with the Israeli government spoke to CNN Sunday and said they wouldn’t entertain a “cease-fire” as part of the negotiations. He said:
“Humanitarian efforts cannot be allowed to impact the mission to dismantle Hamas.”
Biden was asked over the weekend whether he was discussing the option to delay the invasion of Gaza. His only response was: “I’m talking to the Israelis.”
America is serving as one of the key negotiators, in addition to Qatar, as part of the effort to get the 210 hostages who are still in Gaza released. Of those hostages, it’s estimated that 30 of them are children.
Qatar is currently delivering aid to the Palestinians and has worked in the past alongside America to have hostages freed from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Hamas released an American daughter and mother, Natalie and Judith Raanan from Illinois, last week, and the terrorist group said it was willing to release two more. Yet, Netanyahu said that was just “false Hamas propaganda,” saying they were just trying to delay Israel’s assault of their territory.
Antony Blinken, the U.S. secretary of state, said over the weekend that Biden was “hopeful” that more hostages would be released, even if the strategy that Hamas has isn’t clear at the moment. As of yet, the terror group hasn’t requested anything in return for the hostages.
As Blinken said during a Sunday appearance on the “Meet the Press” program:
“We don’t know why Hamas chose to release Natalie and Judith [Raanan] first. I use the word ‘first’ advisedly, because again, we’re hopeful that more follow. This is something we’re engaged in virtually around the clock.”