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Blinken questions if Hamas is negotiating U.S.-backed cease-fire deal in 'good faith'

The secretary of state said the terrorist group is asking for numerous changes to the cease-fire proposal for Gaza.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken
Posted at 7:52 AM, Jun 12, 2024

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is questioning whether Hamas is acting in "good faith" as it negotiates a U.S.-backed cease-fire proposal for Gaza.

Blinken, who is on his eighth trip to the Middle East since the Israel-Hamas war broke out in October, is in Qatar to help push the deal forward.

Hamas replied to the proposal on Tuesday, saying it would like to make amendments. The response falls short of an outright acceptance that the U.S. has been calling for, but it keeps the negotiations going.

In a press conference Wednesday, Blinken said Hamas proposed numerous changes. He noted that while some elements are workable, others are not.

The secretary of state questioned the terrorist group's intentions as it harped on certain elements. He explained the deal that was on the table is virtually identical to proposals put forward by Hamas as of early May. Blinken said Hamas could’ve accepted the proposal with a simple answer of yes.

“You know at some point in a negotiation — and this has gone back and forth for a long time — you get to a point where one side continues to change its demands, including making demands and insisting on changes for things it had already accepted, you have to question whether they're proceeding good faith or not,” Blinken said.

The secretary of state also questioned whether Hamas wanted this conflict to end. He went on to say that the gaps that remain are “bridgeable,” but that it’s ultimately going to be up to Hamas to decide if they do offer that bridge.

Blinken also outlined key elements to come after a cease-fire deal is reached, such as managing governance, security and reconstruction. He noted those day-after plans will lead to a sustainable cease-fire and prosperity in the region, but he said one thing was clear — that Hamas cannot and will not have a role in deciding the future for the region.

Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani weighed in that it’s taking too long to bridge the gaps, which is leading to instability in the region.