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Top US official to visit Israel for hostage release negotiations: Report

Source: ANI   -  Edited By: Senjo M R
November 12, 2023 14:56 IST
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The White House coordinator for West Asia, Brett McGurk will reportedly travel to Israel on Tuesday as part of visit to countries in the region with the goal of reaching a US-brokered deal securing the release of many of the hostages being held by Hamas in Gaza, The Times of Israel reported.

IMAGE: People check the damage after Israeli forces demolished houses of two Palestinian assailants in Hebron, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank November 10, 2023. Photograph: Mussa Qawasma/Reuters

McGurk will first visit Brussels for talks with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and European Union officials on the Israel-Hamas war, The Times of Israel reported citing The Walla news site which cited two unnamed Israeli and American senior officials.

After his visit to Brussels, McGurk will visit Israel where he is slated to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defence Minister Yoav Gallant and senior security and intelligence officials.

After wrapping up his Israel visit, McGurk will then travel to Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bahrain.

The White House has refused to comment on the report, which says one of the options under discussion is a deal that could see 80 women and children freed from captivity in Gaza in return for Israel releasing female and underage terror convicts from prison, and several-day halt in the fighting and possibly some fuel entering Gaza.

Earlier this week, US President Joe Biden said that there is "no possibility" of a ceasefire in Gaza. Biden said that the US government will not stop until it gets the hostages out.

Speaking to reporters about the chances of a Gaza ceasefire, Biden said, "None, No possibility."

Asked about an update on getting hostages out, he said, "We're still optimistic." In his message to the families of the hostages in Gaza, Biden said, "We're not going to stop until we get them out."

Earlier on November 3, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reaffirmed support for Israel and said, "as long as the United States stands, Israel will not stand alone."

Blinken reiterated the commitment during his meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Isaac Herzog and the country's war cabinet.

Addressing a press conference in Tel Aviv, Blinken brought up the brutality of the Hamas onslaught on Israel, as he recalled seeing the footage of a father grabbing his two sons to get them out of harm's way before terrorists gun him down, The Times of Israel reported.

"Where's daddy," he quoted one of the boys as saying."They killed daddy," Blinken quoted the boy's brother as responding. To this, the boy asked, "Where's mommy?", Blinken shared, according to The Times of Israel.

The US secretary of state revealed that further in the footage, the terrorist responsible for killing the boys' parents is seen casually eating from the fridge.

Blinken said it is "shocking" that the brutality of the slaughter has "receded" in the memory of so many -- "but not in Israel and not in the United States".

He said the steps that the US has taken to prevent the war from escalating include counter-strikes on "Iranian proxies" in Syria.

Blinken said he was pained to watch how the carnage impacted Israeli children, he felt no different watching Palestinian girls and boys being pulled from the rubble of buildings bombed by Israel, according to The Times of Israel.

"When I see them, when I look into their eyes from the TV screens, I see my own children," Blinken said, adding, "How can I not?"

He asserted that Hamas doesn't care about Palestinians and uses them as human shields, placing its infrastructure and fighters in residential buildings, schools, mosques and hospitals.

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Source: ANI  -  Edited By: Senjo M R
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