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Kirby: Biden expects Israel to greenlight hostage deal if Hamas agrees

"We have every expectation that if Hamas agrees to the proposal—as was transmitted to them, an Israeli proposal—that Israel would say 'Yes.’"

U.S. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby speaks at a White House press briefing, July 17, 2023. Source: YouTube.
U.S. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby speaks at a White House press briefing, July 17, 2023. Source: YouTube.

Washington expects Israel to agree to the hostage deal outlined by U.S. President Joe Biden if the Hamas terror group greenlights it, White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said on Sunday.

“We have every expectation that if Hamas agrees to the proposal—as was transmitted to them, an Israeli proposal—that Israel would say ‘Yes,'” Kirby told ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos in an interview.

A senior advisor to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was quoted by Britain’s Sunday Times on Saturday as saying that Biden’s Friday address on the ongoing talks was “a political speech for whatever reasons.”

Ophir Falk stressed that while Jerusalem wasn’t happy with the proposal, it was not rejecting it. “It’s not a good deal but we dearly want the hostages released, all of them,” he said, according to the report.

“It’s a deal we agreed to,” he stated, adding however that “there are a lot of details to be worked out,” including Israel’s demand that there be no permanent ceasefire declared “until all our objectives are met.”

The terms of the proposal laid out by Biden on Friday include a permanent end to hostilities and the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Gaza Strip.

The U.S. president claimed he wants a future “without Hamas in power,” but described a series of steps that did not include the elimination of the terror group or its surrender.

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir said on Saturday night that they will not accept an agreement that leaves Hamas still standing in Gaza.

On Sunday, the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) joined in the criticism, condemning what it called the “suicidal-for-Israel proposal.”

Biden’s alleged distortion of Jerusalem’s position “appears to be yet another way to pressure Israel into a deal that would severely damage Israel’s security and ability to deter terror for years to come, lead to more Oct. 7s, and embolden Hamas, Hezbollah and Iranian attacks on Israel,” said ZOA National President Morton A. Klein in a statement.

According to the ZOA, the U.S. proposal gives Hamas “everything it wants,” enabling the terror group to remain in power and “perpetrate more and more horrendous Oct. 7s as their leaders have promised.”

The U.S. State Department in December refused to rule out the possibility of Hamas terrorists retaining power or joining a Palestinian Authority-led governing body for the Gaza Strip, Judea and Samaria.

“Palestinians’ voices and aspirations must be at the center of post-crisis governance in Gaza, unified with the West Bank under the P.A.,” a U.S. government spokesperson told JNS, adding, “Ultimately, the future of Palestinian leadership is a question for the Palestinian people.”

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