WASHINGTON, Dec 04 (APP): : The United States is making an intense effort to persuade Israel and Hamas to resume negotiations so they can once again pause hostilities and exchange more prisoners for hostages, a White House spokesman said Sunday, but observers see no impacts of Washington’s push on Tel Aviv, which has resumed heavy bombardment against war-torn Gaza.
“We are still working it really hard, hour by hour, to see if we can get the sides back to the table and see if we can get something moving,” John Kirby, the strategic communications coordinator at the White House National Security Council, said on NBC’s news porogramme, “Meet the Press.” “
We would like that to happen today. But honestly, I just don’t know.”
In appearances on several Sunday talk shows, Kirby alleged that Hamas was to blame for the breakdown in talks, saying that it had not lived up to the terms of its original agreement to begin handing over captives held in Gaza. He said Hamas had failed to produce a list of women and children who could be released in addition to the 105 hostages who were freed during the original pause in the Israeli attacks. Among those still held are eight or nine Americans.
Israel has since resumed its assault the Palestinians, and Kirby urged it to avoid civilian casualties. He said Israeli authorities had been open to U.S. advice about how to make their assault more precise.
More than 15,000 Palestinians– mostly women and children — have been killed in relentless Israeli bombardments of Gaza, with more than one million people displaced with little food and water.
“We believe that they have been receptive to our messages here in terms of trying to minimize civilian casualties,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.” He claimed that Israel had published a map directing civilians to what it said were safe zones.
“There’s not a whole lot of modern militaries that would do that, I mean, that is, to telegraph their punches in that way,” he said. “So they are making an effort.”
While the right-wing Republicans blame the Biden administration for tying to restrain Israel, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, Democrat of Washington, said on the same programme that the government had a responsibility to stop Israel from killing so many civilians.
While the White House blamed Hamas for the breakdown in hostage talks, Ms. Jayapal faulted Israel.
“Qatar has said that Hamas is still at the table,” she said, referring to the Persian Gulf emirate that has served as the intermediary for the talks. “Israel should still be at the table. In fact, some of the Israeli hostages are saying that Israel should still be at the table, because this is complex negotiation and it doesn’t happen unless both sides are willing to come to some kind of an agreement.”