More hostages dead; questions about Biden’s ceasefire plan

Henry

Israel says four more hostages have since died after being held in Gaza since Hamas’s initial attack on Israel last year.

According to the Israeli military spokesman, Adm. Daniel Hagari, Amiram Cooper, Haim Perry, Yoram Metzger and Nadav Popplewell were all held hostage together in the vicinity of Khan Yunis when Israel recently conducted an operation against Hamas in Khan Yunis.

All of the hostages, except Popplewell, were seen alive in a video that Hamas recorded and released in December.

The news about the hostages’ deaths comes amid growing doubts and international pressure about Joe Biden’s plan for a ceasefire and the release of hostages.

On Friday, the US president announced a so-called three-phase plan to end the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.

This American plan provides for a ceasefire and the release of hostages and it will eventually lead to the reconstruction of the devastated Palestinian territory without Hamas in power, according to Biden.

However, Israeli media have since questioned the extent to which Biden’s plan was coordinated with Netanyahu’s team, as well as how long any truce would last and how many prisoners would be freed and when.

David Mencer, spokesman for the Israeli government, meanwhile said that Biden’s plan is only “partial” and that fighting will only be temporarily stopped in terms of the plan “with the aim of freeing the hostages”.

However, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office says the war will continue until all of Israel’s goals are achieved. The goals include destroying Hamas’ military and governing capabilities.

The White House said Monday that Biden told the emir of Qatar that he viewed Hamas as “the only obstacle to a full ceasefire” in Gaza and urged him to pressure the group to accept it.

Qatar is currently acting as mediator.

The G7 group of developed countries, meanwhile, said its seven leaders supported Biden’s plan and called on Hamas to accept it.

Jake Sullivan, American national security adviser, said on Monday that the White House “again over the weekend saw in Israel a willingness to step forward and make a deal”.