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Biden puts pressure on Netanyahu to accept long truce in exchange for Saudi normalisation

February 5, 2024 at 12:16 pm

US President Joe Biden gives a speech in Washington, DC, United States on January 19, 2024. [Mostafa Bassim – Anadolu Agency]

Israel’s Channel 13 has reported that US President Joe Biden is putting pressure on the Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu to agree to a ceasefire in Gaza for at least four months, as part of a multi-stage deal, which will include the normalisation of relations with Saudi Arabia.

The proposed deal apparently includes the release of 35 adult and sick captives and five female soldiers in the first phase, in exchange for the release of a specific number of Palestinian prisoners. The channel added that in the second stage, the occupation state will promise to release influential Palestinian prisoners and withdraw from the Gaza Strip in exchange for the remaining captive soldiers.

READ: Hamas redeploys police to Gaza City after Israel withdraws

Despite US pressure and the carrot of normalisation with Saudi Arabia, Netanyahu is expected to face great difficulties if he agrees to a prolonged ceasefire in the fighting, because that will effectively lead to the end of the war. Given the belligerent statements of Likud and other far-right ministers, it is likely that this deal will not get enough support to be approved.

Hamas official Osama Hamdan said on Saturday that the movement has been open since October to discussing any initiatives or ideas that lead to stopping Israel’s military offensive against the Palestinian people. He added that Hamas received the general framework proposal that was circulated at the Paris meeting, and that the talks about it are based on the negotiations progressing to reach a complete end to the aggression and a complete withdrawal of the occupation army from the Gaza Strip. “The response to the proposal is also based on the entry of aid and reaching a fair exchange deal.”

Hamdan explained that the occupation state is trying to blur the position of the Hamas movement and avoid its obligations to stop the aggression. “So far there is no deal and what was presented is a framework of an agreement that Hamas is considering.” The movement’s priority now is to alleviate the suffering in the Gaza Strip through a complete end to the aggression, he concluded.

READ: White House: Israel-Hamas prisoner deal not imminent