Gallant threatens Hamas with ‘consequences’ if it rejects Biden-backed Gaza cease-fire proposal

Gallant threatens Hamas with ‘consequences’ if it rejects Biden-backed Gaza cease-fire proposal

Israel’s defense minister claims his government ‘committed’ to facilitating delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza

By Abdelraouf Arnaout

JERUSALEM (AA) – Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant threatened Hamas on Wednesday with “consequences” if it refused to accept a Gaza cease-fire proposal backed by US President Joe Biden.

“We stand firmly behind the President’s deal, which Israel has accepted, and now Hamas must accept - or bear the consequences,” he said in a recorded statement during his visit to Washington.

Gallant reaffirmed his government's "commitment" to bringing back Israeli hostages from Gaza "with no exception.”

The defense minister claimed that his government is committed to “facilitating the delivery of essential humanitarian aid to Gaza.”

“The powerful and enduring bond between the United States and Israel is key to our nation’s strategy and our security,” he added.

Gallant stressed that since the start of the Gaza war, the US “has stood by Israel,” including "working together in facing the Iranian assault in mid-April."

Last month, Biden said Israel presented a three-phase deal that would end hostilities in Gaza and secure the release of hostages held in the coastal enclave. The plan includes a cease-fire, a hostage-prisoner exchange and the reconstruction of Gaza.

At that time, Hamas said it would deal “positively” and “responsibly” with all proposals to reach a cease-fire in Gaza and release all detainees.

Israel estimates that around 120 Israelis are held by Hamas in Gaza.

Indirect talks between Israel and Hamas mediated by the US, Qatar and Egypt have so far failed to agree on a permanent cease-fire that allows a prisoner swap between Israelis and Palestinians.

Flouting a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire, Israel has faced international condemnation amid its continued brutal offensive on Gaza since an Oct. 7, 2023 attack by Hamas.

More than 37,700 Palestinians have since been killed in Gaza, most of them women and children, and nearly 86,400 others injured, according to local health authorities.

Over eight months into the Israeli war, vast tracts of Gaza lay in ruins amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water and medicine.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice, whose latest ruling ordered Tel Aviv to immediately halt its operation in Rafah, where over a million Palestinians had sought refuge from the war before it was invaded on May 6.

*Writing by Rania Abu Shamala

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