US national security adviser says Israel stands behind cease-fire proposal

AP

AP photo: A Palestinian child wounded in an Israeli bombardment on a residential building is brought to hospital in Gaza on Wednesday

U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan on Thursday pushed back against assertions that Israel isn’t fully committed to the cease-fire 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 Thursday in Italy, where Biden was set to attend the annual Group of Seven leaders’ summit. “To this day they stand behind the proposal.”

“I don’t think that there is a contradiction in the Israeli position,” Sullivan added.

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.”

“The goal is to try to bring this to a conclusion as rapidly as possible,” he told reporters.

On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that mediators are trying to close the deal for an elusive cease-fire and hostage release in Gaza. Hamas has requested numerous changes to a U.S.-backed proposal — some of which Blinken said were “workable” and some not.

Hamas says its “amendments” aim to guarantee a permanent cease-fire and complete Israeli troop withdrawal from Gaza. The cease-fire proposal announced by Biden includes those provisions, but Hamas has expressed wariness whether Israel will implement the terms.

Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza has killed more than 37,100 people, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry, which does not distinguish between combatants and civilians in its count. Palestinians are facing widespread hunger because the war has largely cut off the flow of food, medicine and other supplies. U.N. agencies say over 1 million in Gaza could experience the highest level of starvation by mid-July.

Israel launched the war after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, in which militants stormed into southern Israel, killed some 1,200 people — mostly civilians — and abducted about 250.

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