Biden Pushes Israel for New Hostage Deal as US Pressure on Netanyahu Builds
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JERUSALEM, Israel – President Joe Biden says the U.S. is working on a new deal that could lead to the release of more hostages. The potential deal follows the daring Israeli raid that rescued two of the more than 100 remaining hostages held by Hamas.
Biden announced the potential deal during a meeting Monday with Jordan's King Abdullah at the White House.
"As the king and I discussed today, the United States is working on a hostage deal between Israel and Hamas which would bring an immediate and sustained period of calm to Gaza for at least six weeks, which we could then take the time to build something more enduring," Biden stated.
If implemented, this would put a halt to Israel's anticipated assault on the Egyptian border town of Rafah, the last remaining major Hamas stronghold.
King Abdullah called for an immediate ceasefire and warned about a humanitarian catastrophe if Israel attacks Rafah.
Israel is sending a delegation to Cairo for more hostage talks.
The Biden administration is increasingly concerned about the political fallout from the president's support among Arab-American and younger voters, which many believe is largely responsible for ratcheting up the pressure on Netanyahu and Israel.
JNS Editor-in-Chief Jonathan Tobin wrote Monday, "As his poll numbers continue to sink along with the growing questions about his age and diminishing capacity to lead, Biden can’t afford to ignore the open revolt against his pro-Israel policies within the Democratic Party that encompasses lower-ranking administration officials, congressional staffers and the president’s re-election campaign workers, as well as the left-wing activist base that will supply most of the energy and volunteers to get out the vote this fall."
Some Middle East analysts believe Egypt is also working hard behind the scenes to prevent thousands of refugees from Gaza from flooding into the Sinai Peninsula.
On Monday, Egypt's foreign minister said that Cairo is still committed to upholding its peace treaty with Israel.
His comments came after some reports that the nearly 50-year peace deal would be in jeopardy if Israel began its offensive into Rafah.
The Israel Defense Forces Monday released footage of the raid inside a Rafah home that freed two hostages, Argentinian-Israelis Louis Har and Fernando Harmon. The IDF reportedly used ropes to extract the hostages from the building.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with the special forces personnel who carried out the operation.
“I want to tell you that the release of Louis (Har, 70) and Fernando (Simon Marman, 60) is one of the most successful rescue operations in the history of the State of Israel," Netanyahu declared. "You eliminated the kidnappers, the terrorists, you made your way back to Israel unscathed – perfect operation, perfect execution. and I want to tell you, I am so proud of you.“
Just days earlier, Argentinian President Javier Milei paid a solidarity visit where he prayed at the Western Wall, met with Israeli leaders, and pledged to move Argentina's embassy to Jerusalem.
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