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The US leverage bombs to nudge Israel for ceasefire

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Islamabad (Imran Y. CHOUDHRY) :- Former Press Secretary to the President, Former Press Minister to the Embassy of Pakistan to France, Former MD, SRBC Mr. Qamar Bashir analysis :
Pressured by widespread demonstrations, initially led by civil society and later fueled by university and college students, which have spread across the United States like wildfire with no sign of slowing down, resulting in the arrest of over 2400 students, the Biden administration has finally realized that its policy of supporting and aiding Israel’s indiscriminate bombing of innocent infants, children, women, and the elderly with US-supplied lethal and highly destructive bombs will not work anymore.
In the wake of these protests and with looming presidential elections, Biden is rapidly losing ground to his staunch opponent, Donald Trump. While successive US administrations across the political spectrum have backed Israel since its creation in 1948, the tide is now turning against Israel. Several polls conducted in the USA suggest that public support for Israel appears to be waning, especially among young people.
Realizing, albeit belatedly, that if he harbors any hope for salvaging his image in the elections, he must bring an end to the war in Gaza sooner rather than later. To demonstrate resolve in forcing Israel to reconsider its decision to bomb Rafah, one of the most densely populated areas in the world, the Biden administration first paused the supply of 3500 bombs of 5000, and 500-pound, which were favored weapons of the Israeli Armed Forces. This pause is part of an ongoing effort to deter Israel from launching major military operations in the southern city of Rafah, which would endanger the lives of 1.5 million civilians seeking refuge there.”
Meanwhile the United State is also pursuing aggressive diplomacy with all stakeholders. It is feverishly working with the warring parties, both Israel and Hamas and interlocutors, Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan and Egypt besides others to bring them to agree on the conditions of ceasefire.
The talks were considerred not far from reaching a ceasefire, temporary or permanent. If the talk succeeds, it would be a big blow to Natanyahu who has from the very beginning been against any ceasefire and had expressed his resolve to obliterate Hamas by military means from Gaza, that too without giving any regards of collateral damage in the form of loss of lives and property.
A permanent ceasefire could also lead to the collapse of his far-right coalition, prompting early elections and his removal from power, as his national security minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, and finance minister, Bezalel Smotrich, have already threatened to leave and collapse Netanyahu’s coalition, if Israel agrees to a captive deal and ceasefire.
To add to the complexity, both Israel and Hamas have divergent interpretations of the various sections of the agreement. The first phase of a three-phase agreement would be the six-week pause in fighting, during which according to the Israeli point of view, Israel would exchange hundreds of Palestinian prisoners and detainees in Israeli jails for 33 of the most vulnerable hostages held in Gaza. But Hamas refused to release all of the 33 prisoners. According to Hamas these 33 hostages include those who were still living, and the remains of those who have died. Additionally Hamas demanded a framework that would stretch out the hostage release by freeing three on the third day after the pause begins, then three more every seven days after that.
After the six week pause, the negotiation will move to the second phase named “sustainable calm” which is again interpreted differently by both Israel and Hamas. Israel interpreted it as, “the two sides would work toward achieving a “sustainable calm” in Gaza after an initial six-week pause in fighting. Whereas Hamas interpret it as a permanent cessation of hostilities and a complete withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Gaza Strip..
The talks were considerred not far from reaching a ceasefire, temporary or permanent. If the talk succeeds, it would be a big blow to Natanyahu who has from the very beginning been against any ceasefire and had expressed his resolve to obliterate Hamas by military means from Gaza, that too without giving any regards of collateral damage in the form of loss of lives and property.
A permanent ceasefire could also lead to the collapse of his far-right coalition, prompting early elections and his removal from power, as his national security minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, and finance minister, Bezalel Smotrich, have already threatened to leave and collapse Netanyahu’s coalition, if Israel agrees to a captive deal and ceasefire.
Both Israel and Hamas have divergent interpretations of the under discussion agreement. The first phase of a three-phase agreement would be the six-week pause in fighting, during which according to the Israeli point of view, Israel would exchange hundreds of Palestinian prisoners and detainees in Israeli jails for 33 of the most vulnerable hostages held in Gaza. But Hamas refused to release all of the 33 prisoners who would be freed in the first phase were still living, and that the remains of those who have died would be among the releases.
Though the text of the draft is still being moved to and fro and its fate hangs in balance, Israel side once again throws a spanner saying that Israeli believed the proposal Hamas had agreed to was “very far from Israel’s core demands.” Whereas, Hamas said that it had accepted the terms of a cease-fire proposed by Arab mediators.
In total defiance of the United Nations and the United States and in an attempt to frustrate the efforts of the international community for ceasefire, Israeli troops moved ahead and seized control of Gaza’s vital Rafah border crossing on (7-May) and put the talks with Hamas over a cease-fire and hostage release once again on a razor’s edge. Hamas called the Israeli operation a “dangerous escalation” intended “to disrupt mediation efforts for a cease-fire and the release of prisoners..
Amidst high-stakes diplomatic maneuvers and military tensions, there remains a faint hope for a deal to at least temporarily halt the conflict which has so far claimed the lives of over 34,700 Palestinians and inflicted widespread devastation on the entire Gaza Strip.

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