Israel’s Netanyahu meets US’ Blinken amid talks for Gaza cease-fire

Israel’s Netanyahu meets US’ Blinken amid talks for Gaza cease-fire

Netanyahu’s office describes his meeting with Blinken as ‘long and in-depth’

By Ahmed Asmar

ANKARA (AA) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held talks with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in West Jerusalem on Wednesday amid efforts for a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip.

A brief statement by Netanyahu's office described his meeting with Blinken as "long and in-depth."

It did not provide any further details about the content of the talks.

The top US diplomat arrived in Israel on Wednesday for talks on a Hamas response to a framework agreement for a Gaza cease-fire and hostage swap with Israel.

He is scheduled to meet with Israeli President Isaac Herzog, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and other senior officials during his visit.

Qatar, Egypt and the US confirmed Tuesday that they have received Hamas’ response to a framework agreement for a Gaza cease-fire and hostage swap with Israel.

A Palestinian source told Anadolu that Hamas has proposed a 3-stage plan for a Gaza cease-fire that includes a 135-day pause in fighting in return for hostage releases.

“Hamas’ response includes a 3-stage plan, each lasting 45 days during which military operations would be completely halted on both sides and prisoners and remains would be exchanged,” the source told Anadolu.

Hamas is believed to be holding around 136 Israelis.

Israel has launched a deadly offensive on Gaza following an Oct. 7 cross-border attack by Hamas, killing at least 27,708 Palestinians and injuring 67,174 others, while nearly 1,200 Israelis are believed to have been killed in the Hamas attack.

The Israeli offensive has left 85% of Gaza’s population internally displaced amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine, while 60% of the enclave’s infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

Israel’s Netanyahu meets US’ Blinken amid talks for Gaza cease-fire

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