White House Urges Renewed Israel-Hamas Dialogue: U.S. Advocates Diplomatic Talks, Reveals Senior Official

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The U.S. government is currently engaged in a robust effort to encourage Israel and Hamas to restart negotiations. They aim to halt ongoing hostilities and resume the exchange of prisoners for hostages, as stated by a spokesperson from the White House on Sunday.

John F. Kirby, the strategic communications coordinator at the White House National Security Council, expressed the continuous dedication to facilitate discussions between the conflicting parties. He emphasized the urgency of bringing both sides back to the negotiating table, acknowledging the challenging nature of achieving this goal promptly.

In multiple appearances on Sunday talk shows, Kirby laid blame on Hamas for the breakdown in talks. He highlighted the failure of Hamas to adhere to the initial agreement by not providing a comprehensive list of women and children to be released alongside the 105 hostages freed during the initial ceasefire. Notably, among the hostages still held are eight or nine Americans.

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Following the breakdown of negotiations, Israel resumed its offensive against Hamas. Kirby urged Israel to take measures to avoid civilian casualties while acknowledging their efforts in attempting to do so. He mentioned that Israel had taken steps such as publishing maps directing civilians to designated safe areas, a move uncommon among modern military operations.

President Biden’s administration has sought a delicate balance since the Oct. 7 terrorist attack by Hamas, which resulted in significant casualties and hostage-taking. While affirming Israel’s right to self-defense, the administration has aimed to temper Israel’s response to prevent what they consider an excessive reaction.

This nuanced approach has drawn criticism from both ends of the political spectrum. Some Republicans accused the Biden administration of restraining Israel excessively, while certain liberal Democrats argued it wasn’t doing enough to mitigate civilian casualties.

Senator Lindsey Graham criticized Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III’s cautioning Israel, stating it was naive and would lead to strategic defeat. Graham advocated for pressuring Iran, Hamas’s sponsor, as a means to resolve the hostage situation.

On the other side, Representative Pramila Jayapal emphasized the need for the U.S. to intervene in preventing civilian casualties caused by Israeli actions. She stressed the necessity of placing conditions on military aid to Israel, similar to how aid to other countries is governed.

While the White House attributed the breakdown in talks to Hamas, Jayapal placed the responsibility on Israel. She cited Qatar’s statement claiming Hamas was willing to negotiate and suggested that Israel should also continue talks, emphasizing that resolution requires commitment from both sides.