U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived late Tuesday evening for a visit to discuss what he called a “serious proposal” for a deal in which Hamas would release the remaining 136 Israeli hostages in exchange for a long-term pause to the war in Gaza.
The visit will be Blinken’s sixth since the war began with the Hamas terror attack of October 7, in which the terrorist group murdered roughly 1,200 people in Israel — often in brutal fashion — and abducted 243 others as hostages in Gaza.
Together with our partners in Qatar and Egypt we’ve put forth a serious proposal aimed at not just repeating, but expanding the previous pause in fighting to achieve the release of the remaining hostages and surge humanitarian relief to Gaza. pic.twitter.com/rp11i57XOj
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) February 6, 2024
Earlier Tuesday, it was reported — both in the Israeli media, and by the White House — that Hamas had responded to the proposal. Though the details of the response were not revealed, Israeli media suggested that Hamas continued to insist that any hostage deal bring a permanent end to the war (thus allowing the group to survive with its weapons and leadership intact).
Separately, reports emerged that the Biden administration wanted to encourage a permanent end to the war in a potential deal, which it saw as a gateway to a broader agreement that would involve Saudi-Israeli peace and a Palestinian state. Israel has repeatedly rejected the idea of rewarding Hamas terror by creating a Palestinian state as the outcome of Hamas’s efforts.
After his last visit, in January, Blinken went to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where he caused controversy by trashing Israelis, suggesting that they, and not the Arab world, were not ready for a peace agreement with the Palestinians.
Blinken will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It was not clear, at the time of this writing, whether there would be a press conference at which members of the media would be able to ask questions of the Secretary of State.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent book, “The Zionist Conspiracy (and how to join it),” now available on Audible. He is also the author of the e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.