newsIsrael at War

Kirby: ‘We got to get this hostage deal now’

"Another proposal now is on the table, a fresh one, and we are doing everything we can to see if we can’t get that advanced," said the National Security Council spokesman.

National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications John Kirby holds a daily briefing on March 5, 2024 at the White House alongside Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary. Credit: Oliver Contreras/White House.
National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications John Kirby holds a daily briefing on March 5, 2024 at the White House alongside Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary. Credit: Oliver Contreras/White House.

A new hostage-deal proposal is on the table as part of renewed indirect negotiations between Israel and Hamas, White House National Security Council communications advisor John Kirby announced on Wednesday.

“Another proposal now is on the table, a fresh one, and we are doing everything we can to see if we can’t get that advanced, because it could lead to the ceasefire in a temporary way that could also lead to something more sustained,” Kirby said during a briefing.

“Our view and our opinion is we got to get this hostage deal now. The time is now to do it, to get that temporary ceasefire, and to end this conflict as soon as possible,” he added. 

On May 6, Hamas announced that it had agreed to a ceasefire proposal altered by Egypt without Jerusalem’s consent. According to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the proposal “was very far from Israel’s core demands.” Talks had been in a stalemate since then.

On Monday, Netanyahu pushed back against allegations that he is preventing a deal that would see the return to Israel of the hostages—dead and alive—in exchange for a pause in fighting.

“The repeated false claims that we are the obstacle are not only harmful to the families—that much is obvious, and I sympathize with them,” he said. “But it goes beyond that: It delays the release of the hostages and undermines negotiations. Instead of focusing pressure on [Hamas chief in Gaza Yahya] Sinwar, who holds the hostages in his dungeons, the pressure is misdirected at the Israeli government.”

As part of her solidarity visit to Israel this week, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley met on Wednesday with relatives of the hostages, including Sharon Sharabi, the brother of captives Eli Sharabi and Yossi Sharabi.

Yossi was declared dead in captivity and his body is still held by Hamas in Gaza. 

“It was important to meet Nikki Haley to know how the Americans are acting to put an end to the conflict and what steps they are taking to close a deal to bring all the hostages home,” Sharabi told JNS.

”Nikki emphasized that U.S. government stands with Israel and is committed to protecting  Israel,” he added.

Sharabi explained that his meeting with Haley was part of a greater effort to raise awareness of the hostage issue and remind the world of Hamas’s massacre of 1,200 Israelis on Oct. 7.  

“I call on world leaders to declare that Hamas committed war crimes and demand the unconditional release of hostages,” Sharabi said. 

“Stop the hypocrisy and fight for justice. Don’t let Israel stand on its own,” he added. 

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