Gaza Ceasefire Draws US Scrutiny


Kirby emphasised that the US wouldn’t back a ground offensive in Rafah, Gaza’s south, endangering over a million people….reports Asian Lite News

 The US government has said that it is examining Hamas’ agreement to a mediated proposal for a ceasefire in Gaza.

“We’re currently reviewing that response. And we’re discussing it with our partners in the region,” National Security Council Communications Director John Kirby said on Monday. Kirby evaded a journalist’s question as to what exactly Hamas had agreed to in the proposal. He would not go into that, he said.

“We still believe that reaching an agreement is the absolute best outcome not only for the hostages, but for the Palestinian people. And we’re not going to stop working to that outcome,” Kirby said.

Pentagon Press Secretary John F Kirby.(photo:John F Kirby Twitter)

CIA chief William Burns is in the region working with the Israelis to reach an agreement, Kirby said. “And the last thing that I want to do is say anything at this podium that’s going to put that process at risk,” he added. The worst thing to do now would be to speculate about what exactly Hamas’ response will be.

Kirby described a telephone conversation between US President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier Monday morning as “constructive.” The conversation lasted around half an hour.

“During the call at the president’s urging, Prime Minister Netanyahu agreed to ensure that the Kerem Shalom crossing is back open for humanitarian assistance for those in need,” said Kirby.

During the talks, Hamas’ agreement to a mediator’s proposal was not yet known.

With regard to an expected ground offensive in the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, Kirby stressed that the US government would not support an operation that would put more than 1 million people at great risk. When asked by the press whether Washington would support a limited Israeli operation in Rafah, Kirby did not respond directly. However, Israel had not yet presented the plan for protecting the civilian population requested by the US.

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