June 10, 2024 | Flash Brief

Blinken in Israel Amid Talk of Side Deal on American Hostages Held in Gaza

June 10, 2024 | Flash Brief

Blinken in Israel Amid Talk of Side Deal on American Hostages Held in Gaza

Latest Developments

Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on June 10 to discuss the U.S.-backed ceasefire plan to end the war in Gaza. During his eighth visit to the region since the Hamas atrocities of October 7, Blinken reiterated America’s “ironclad commitment” to Israel and reaffirmed support for the Biden administration’s ceasefire proposal outlined on May 31.

Doubts persist as to whether Hamas will respond positively to the three-phase deal, which would entail Hamas’s release of all hostages in exchange for a permanent end of hostilities in Gaza. Before arriving in Israel on June 10, Blinken said that Israel had “accepted” the plan, adding that it was “very close to what Hamas had agreed to some time before.”

NBC News reported on June 10 that the U.S. may negotiate a separate hostage deal with Hamas — through Qatar and without Israel — to free the five dual U.S.-Israeli citizens who remain in Hamas captivity in Gaza: Hersh Goldberg-Polin, Edan Alexander, Sagui Dekel-Chen, Keith Siegel, and Omer Neutra. The White House did not confirm and Israel is reportedly unaware of such a plan.

Expert Analysis

“Blinken came with one objective: Maintain pressure on Israel to prematurely end its campaign against Hamas. That is Blinken’s solution to everything, including Hezbollah’s escalation. Surrendering to Hamas in Gaza might silence Hezbollah guns momentarily, but it will invite a much larger and bloodier Iran-led regional conflict down the road.” — Richard Goldberg, FDD Senior Advisor

“While the Biden administration should do everything it can to free the five Americans held by Hamas, rewarding the abductors will only invite further hostage-taking. Even worse, doing so behind Israel’s back would seem desperate and project discord between Washington and Jerusalem.” — David May, FDD Research Manager and Senior Research Analyst

Hamas Issues Standing Order to Kill Hostages When IDF Nearby

Hamas ordered its terrorists to immediately “shoot the captives” when “they think Israeli forces are coming,” Israeli officials told The New York Times on June 10. The news comes two days after Israel rescued four hostages — Noa Argamani, 25, Almog Meir Jan, 21, Andrey Kozlov, 27, and Shlomi Ziv, 40 — from two locations in Nuseirat, central Gaza. According to the New York Times, unnamed U.S. and Israeli officials said that the U.S. had provided the IDF with “intelligence and other logistical support” for the rescue operation. U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said, “The United States is supporting all efforts to secure the release of hostages still held by Hamas, including American citizens. This includes through ongoing negotiations or other means.”

IDF Liberates Four Hostages Abducted By Hamas On October 7,” FDD Flash Brief

Seventeen Countries Urge Hamas to Accept Ceasefire Proposal,” FDD Flash Brief

Biden Announces Israeli Ceasefire Proposal to End Gaza War,” FDD Flash Brief

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