US-backed Gaza ceasefire, hostage plan in limbo

Displaced Palestinians walk past destroyed buildings in al-Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip on June 12, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas

A U.S.-backed proposal for a ceasefire and hostage deal between Israel and Hamas appears to be in limbo, with neither side yet publicly committing to the current plan for a Gaza deal amid demands for changes.

However, U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan on Thursday pushed back against assertions that Israel isn't fully committed to the ceasefire proposal with Hamas that President Joe Biden outlined in late May at the White House.

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

Sullivan reiterated that Hamas had responded by offering an amended proposal and he said the goal is "to figure out how we work to bridge the remaining gaps and get to a deal."

Hamas late on June 11 submitted its response to mediators Qatar and Egypt, and top U.S. diplomat Antony Blinken said some of the proposed amendments by the group "are workable and some are not."

Blinken also noted an elusive truce and hostage release deal to end the Gaza war was still possible, wrapping up a Middle East tour.

A senior Hamas official, Osama Hamdan, said it sought "a permanent ceasefire and complete withdrawal" of Israeli troops from Gaza, demands rejected by Israel.

Another senior Hamas official also noted that the changes that the group has requested to the ceasefire proposal are "not significant" and include the complete withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Gaza Strip.

The three-stage plan, endorsed by the U.N. Security Council and Arab powers, includes a six...

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