Biden says he is not confident that hostage deal is imminent: ‘Hamas has to move’

US Secretary of State: ‘As a result, the war — [which] Hamas started on October 7 with its barbaric attack on Israel… will go on.’

By Vered Weiss, World Israel News wil

At the G7 conference, US President Joe Biden said he doesn’t expect a hostage release agreement soon and added that Hamas is to blame for the absence of a deal.

Biden was expected to encourage the leaders of the other G7 countries—France, Germany, Italy, Great Britain, Canada, and Japan—to endorse the three-stage ceasefire proposal he unveiled last month and pressure Hamas to comply.

When asked about the progress of negotiations, Biden said at the conference that he didn’t expect an agreement to materialize soon but added,”I haven’t lost hope, but it’s going to be tough.”

“Hamas has… to move,” he added.

During a press conference with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, Biden elaborated, “I’ve laid out an approach that has been endorsed by the UN Security Council, by the G7, by the Israelis, and the biggest hang-up so far is Hamas refusing to sign on, even though they have submitted something similar.”

Negotiators from the US, Egypt, and Qatar have been struggling for several months to encourage Israel and Hamas to agree to a hostage deal proposal.

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So far, the major impasse between the two parties has been Hamas’s demand that Israel make a complete commitment to a permanent ceasefire and a thorough troop withdrawal from Gaza.

In contrast, Israel has agreed to gradual steps taken towards a ceasefire preceded by a truce and the release of the remaining captives.

National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan pushed back on claims that Israel may be responsible for the absence of a hostage deal.

Sullivan said, “Israel has supplied this proposal. It has been sitting on the table for some time. Israel has not contradicted or walked that back.”

US officials said it was Hamas who has continually made additions and revisions to versions of the hostage deal after initially seeming poised to accept terms.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, “Hamas has proposed numerous changes to the proposal that was on the table… Some of the changes are workable, some are not.”

Blinken added that the proposal Hamas received on May 30 was “virtually identical” to the terror group’s last offer submitted on May 6.

He explained, “Hamas could have answered with a single word: ‘Yes.’ Instead, Hamas waited nearly two weeks and then proposed more changes — a number of which go beyond positions that it had previously taken and accepted.”

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“As a result, the war — [which] Hamas started on October 7 with its barbaric attack on Israel… will go on,” Blinken concluded.