Monday Briefing: U.S. Pushes for New Hostage Talks

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President Biden’s Middle East coordinator, Brett McGurk, will travel to Egypt and Qatar to meet with top leaders about a deal for the release of hostages held by Hamas in exchange for a temporary pause in fighting.

Here’s the latest.

Egypt and Qatar helped broker a cease-fire in November during which Hamas released more than 100 people from captivity. The hope is that another such deal can be arranged. But American officials have said that a new hostage release has been complicated by Hamas’s evident desire for a permanent cease-fire.

McGurk’s trip comes as Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, once again said that he would not meet Hamas’s demands of a withdrawal of Israeli forces in return for the release of hostages. “Let it be clear: I utterly reject the Hamas monsters’ capitulation terms,” Netanyahu said yesterday.

Netanyahu again rejected the idea of the creation of a Palestinian state, just a day after President Biden floated the possibility of a disarmed Palestinian nation. Biden has argued that some kind of two-state solution is the only viable resolution to the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a position held by most U.S. and European leaders in recent history.

“I will not compromise on full Israeli security control of the entire area west of the Jordan River — and that is irreconcilable with a Palestinian state,” Netanyahu posted on X.

Elsewhere in the region:

At least two U.S. service members in western Iraq were injured on Saturday when their air base came under fire from what American officials said were Iran-backed militias.

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Monday Briefing: U.S. Pushes for New Hostage Talks

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