Hamas is the “only obstacle between the people of Gaza and a ceasefire”, says the head of American diplomacy

Hamas is the “only obstacle between the people of Gaza and a ceasefire” with Israel, said American Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday, May 3. “We are waiting to see if, really, they can agree to say yes to the ceasefire and the release of the hostages,” he said at a gathering of leaders in the state of Arizona .

Israel and the mediating countries are still awaiting a response from the Palestinian Islamist movement to a proposal for a forty-day truce associated with the release of hostages, in exchange for Palestinian prisoners held by Israel. A Hamas delegation arrived in Cairo on Saturday to continue discussions.

The head of American diplomacy also declared that Hamas fighters “claim to represent” the Palestinian people and assured that “if this is true, acceptance of a ceasefire should be obvious.”

Blinken does not support an offensive in Rafah
The American Secretary of State also estimated that an Israeli attack on Rafah, a town in the south of the Gaza Strip where more than a million displaced Palestinians are crowded, would be catastrophic. According to Antony Blinken, Israel has not presented any plan to protect civilians during this possible attack.

“In the absence of such a plan, we cannot support a major military operation in Rafah, because the damage it would cause would be beyond what is acceptable.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reaffirmed Thursday his intention to launch an offensive in Rafah “with or without an agreement” of truce. “We will do what is necessary to win and defeat our enemy, including in Rafah,” he said.

This article is originally published on francetvinfo.fr

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