Biden's optimism contrasts with recent statements by senior Israeli officials and Hamas members, who say there are still major disagreements

Biden hopes for an agreement between Israel and Hamas before Ramadan

El presidente de Estados Unidos, Joe Biden - AFP/SAUL LOEB
US President Joe Biden - AFP/SAUL LOEB

The remarkable momentum of negotiations over a possible truce and hostage release deal between Israel and Hamas over the past month is reflected in recent optimistic statements by US President Joe Biden. 

  1. Caution on Biden's optimism 
  2. Hamas receives new proposal for a 40-day truce  

According to Biden, an agreement between Israel and Hamas "is close" and could be announced as early as this coming weekend or Monday, a week before the start of Ramadan. "My hope is that next Monday [4 March] we will have a ceasefire," Biden said. 

Talks on a ceasefire agreement have intensified in recent weeks with the aim of reaching one before the Muslim holy month begins. In this regard, according to Biden, Israel has agreed to pause operations during Ramadan, which begins on 10 March, if an agreement is reached. This truce would also serve to "get all the hostages out", the president explained on NBC's "Late Night With Seth Meyers". 

Benny Gantz, a member of the Israeli war cabinet, also set a deadline of the beginning of Ramadan for Hamas to release the more than 130 hostages it has been holding in Gaza since 7 October.

If the terrorist organisation does not agree, Israel will expand its offensive in the south of the Palestinian enclave, advancing towards Rafah, considered the "last bastion of Hamas" and a refuge for thousands of Gazans who have fled fighting elsewhere in the territory.  

"Hamas has a choice: they can surrender, release the hostages and the citizens of Gaza will be able to celebrate the holy holiday of Ramadan," Gantz stressed.

Caution on Biden's optimism 

State Department spokesman Matthew Miller was not as optimistic as Biden, stressing that "it is up to Hamas" to reach an agreement before Ramadan. "We believe it is possible to reach a deal and we hope Hamas will accept it," he said during a press conference. "We need Hamas to say yes," he added. 

For the moment, the terror group has already commented on Biden's remarks, calling them "hasty".  "There are still big gaps to be bridged before a truce," a senior official of the group told Reuters.  

A senior Israeli official quoted by Ynet also downplayed Biden's remarks, saying he did not understand "what his optimism is based on", as Hamas is likely to reject the latest proposal from the international mediators.  

Hamas receives new proposal for a 40-day truce  

The draft, which was drawn up during recent talks in Paris, includes a 40-day pause in all Israeli military operations and the exchange of Palestinian prisoners for Israeli hostages - including women, under-19s and over-50s - on a 10:1 ratio, according to Reuters

PHOTO/MAHMOUD AJJOUR vía ZUMA - El líder de Hamás, Ismail Haniyeh
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh - PHOTO/MAHMOUD AJJOUR via ZUMA

The deal would also repair hospitals and bakeries in Gaza, while 500 aid trucks would enter the enclave every day, as well as thousands of tents and caravans to house the displaced. 

The reason all attempts at a truce have failed is due to the terrorist group's demand that Israel completely end the war, which Jerusalem rejects. This new proposal also does not include a withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza, so Hamas is likely to reject it again. 

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