Blinken says truce ‘ball’ in Hamas’s court; terror group says no to compromise

Secretary of State Antony Blinken, left, speaks during his meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan, not pictured, at the State Department in Washington, March 8, 2024. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Published March 9, 2024

Lebanese newspaper claims failure in hostage negotiations in Cairo stems from departure from Paris proposals, lack of focus on future stages of deal

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Friday it was up to Hamas to agree to a temporary ceasefire that would allow more humanitarian aid into Gaza and pave the way for talks on an “enduring resolution” to the conflict.

The Palestinian terrorist group left talks in Cairo aimed at reaching an agreement to pause fighting ahead of Ramadan, amid fears violence could escalate during the Muslim holy month.

Israel and Hamas blamed each other for the lack of agreement on a deal that would require Hamas to free some of the hostages it still holds in exchange for a 40-day truce. Some Palestinian security prisoners held in Israel would also be released.

Blinken, ahead of a meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan, said Washington was still pushing for a truce.

“The issue is Hamas. The issue is whether Hamas will decide or not to have a ceasefire that would benefit everyone,” Blinken said.



RELATED: Opinion – The International Community Should End the Israel-Hamas War

Published March 9,  2024

The horrendous loss of innocent life in the current war in the Gaza Strip justifiably arouses extreme moral outrage in the global community.

The barbaric attacks on Israeli civilians by Hamas on October 7 were unconscionable. The Israeli government has a right and duty to defend its people.

But, the Israeli response has resulted in tens of thousands of deaths in Gaza and the human suffering is enormous. Many in the world community call for a ceasefire to alleviate the crisis.

But even if a ceasefire can be achieved, it is unlikely that it will lead to a lasting peace. In fact, it is almost impossible for the warring parties to escape the dilemma they face – a dilemma which was created by forces beyond their control.

Before the end of the First World War, the land on which Israel exists had been controlled by Arabs and Muslims going back over 1400 years. In the nineteenth century the rise of ethnic nationalism combined with continuing, and in some cases worsening, anti-Semitism in Europe led to the development of the idea the Jews needed a homeland, a nation state, not only to protect their way of life but literally their very lives. Eventually the movement settled on Palestine, the Biblical home of the Jews. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century the Ottoman empire was generally tolerant of Jewish immigration and many Jews moved to the region. When the Ottomans lost World War One, they lost most of their territory and Palestine was put under the control of Great Britain by the victorious western powers. British rule was based on a protectorate. It was meant to help the region achieve sovereignty during an interim period. And this is when the foundation of the current tragedy was laid.

Britain ruled Palestine as a colonial possession, and this was much resented. During the war, Great Britain had promised independent states in Palestine to both the Arabs and Jews. During the 1920s and 1930s Britain intermittently let large numbers of Jews settle in Palestine. As more and more Jews came, the Arab population began to resent what they saw as a takeover of their territory. There was growing violence and Britain wavered back and forth in its policy.

After World War Two the unrest between the two groups intensified. Many Jewish Holocaust survivors wanted to go to Israel; the need for a Jewish state was even more apparent. The British tried to keep them out, but not entirely successfully. The British dumped the problem on the newly created United Nations which decided to divide Palestine between a Jewish state and an Arab state. The Jews were relatively happy with this solution. They would get their state. But the Arabs justifiably argued that a European dominated United Nations did not have the right to take their land and give it to a European people. It echoed the extreme abuses of European colonialism and even the Crusades.




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