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U.S. Urgently Pushing for Israel-Hamas Talks to Resume, White House Says

by Ohio Digital News

The U.S. government is actively engaged in intense efforts to encourage Israel and Hamas to return to the negotiating table, aiming to facilitate a renewed pause in hostilities and further exchanges of prisoners for hostages, stated a White House spokesperson on Sunday.

John F. Kirby, the strategic communications coordinator at the White House National Security Council, emphasized the ongoing efforts during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” stating, “We are still working it really hard, hour by hour, to see if we can get the sides back to the table and see if we can get something moving.” Kirby expressed the desire for a swift resumption of talks but acknowledged uncertainty about the timing.

Speaking on various Sunday talk shows, Kirby attributed the breakdown in talks to Hamas, asserting that the group had not fulfilled its commitments under the original agreement to begin releasing captives held in Gaza. He highlighted Hamas’s failure to provide a list of women and children eligible for release in addition to the 105 hostages freed during the initial pause in fighting. Notably, eight or nine Americans are still among those held captive. Hamas representative Osama Hamdan insisted that negotiations on hostages would only resume once Israel ceased its assault.

Kirby urged Israel to avoid civilian casualties, acknowledging the country’s efforts to minimize harm. He noted that Israeli authorities had been receptive to U.S. advice on enhancing the precision of their assault. Israel’s publication of a map directing civilians to designated safe zones was cited as an example of efforts to protect non-combatants.

President Biden’s administration, while supporting Israel’s right to self-defense, has sought to strike a balance in its response to the conflict, facing criticism from both Republicans and Democrats. Some Republicans accused the administration of restraining Israel, while liberal Democrats called for stronger measures to prevent civilian casualties.

Senator Lindsey Graham criticized Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III, characterizing him as naive and expressing a loss of confidence. Graham advocated a tougher stance on Iran, the sponsor of Hamas, to compel the release of hostages.

Representative Pramila Jayapal, on the other hand, called for conditions on military aid to Israel, stating that the U.S. cannot support indiscriminate bombing. She emphasized the need for both Israel and Hamas to remain at the negotiation table for a complex agreement to be reached.

The situation remains fluid, with the U.S. actively involved in diplomatic efforts to bring the conflicting parties back to negotiations.

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