Qatar Pressures Israel, Hamas as Biden Lobbies Netanyahu

Ceasefire talks have broken down, mediator says
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 28, 2024 5:00 PM CDT
Qatar Pressures Israel, Hamas as Biden Lobbies Netanyahu
Ultra-Orthodox Jews inspect the debris of what is believed to be an intercepted Iranian missile near the city of Arad, southern Israel, on Sunday.   (AP Photo/ Ohad Zwigenberg)

President Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel spoke on Sunday about reaching a ceasefire agreement under which Hamas would release hostages. US officials said Biden again warned against attacking Rafah in southern Gaza, the New York Times reports, adding that the president reiterated his "clear position." And Qatar, which is acting as an intermediary, called on Israel and Hamas to show "more commitment and more seriousness" in the ceasefire negotiations. With the talks stalled, Qatar has said it's reconsidering its role, per the AP.

In interviews, a spokesman for Qatar's foreign ministry said the negotiations have essentially halted. He said Israel and Hamas are basing decisions on political interests and not the best interests of civilians, calling "both sides entrenched in their positions." Secretary of State Antony Blinken left Sunday for the Middle East to focus on limiting the attacks on Gaza, per the Times. Israel says it's still planning the assault on Rafah, which borders Egypt, though it promised to consult other nations. The US objections to invading the city, where about 1 million Palestinians are sheltering, are humanitarian. (More Israel-Hamas war stories.)

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