In First, 17 Nations Release Joint Statement Demanding Hamas Release All Hostages

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by Tyler Durden
Thursday, Apr 25, 2024 - 03:25 PM

Hamas has rejected an urgent formal plea from world leaders to release all remaining Israeli hostages, with the designated terror group telling the West "you can't force us to do anything."

Earlier on Thursday the US was among a group of 17 countries which have citizens in Hamas custody that released a joint statement calling on Hamas to free them.

Via Flash90

This was the first such international joint statement of the conflict, which has run for more than half a year. Prior attempts at similar statements never got past the draft phase as countries had vastly differing perspectives of the Gaza crisis.

"We call for the immediate release of all hostages held by Hamas and Gaza now for over 200 days. They include our citizens," the statement said. "The fate of the hostages and the civilian population in Gaza who are protected under international law is of international concern."

The leaders from the following countries were behind the statement: United States, Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Spain, Thailand and the United Kingdom.

They push for both warring parties to see through the deal that's reportedly on the table: "Gazans would be able to return to their homes and their lands with preparations beforehand to ensure shelter and humanitarian provisions," it said.

"We will emphasize that the pending deal for the release of the hostages will lead to an immediate and prolonged ceasefire in Gaza, which will facilitate the introduction of necessary humanitarian aid to be provided throughout Gaza and lead to a reliable end to hostilities," the joint statement continued.

But Israeli officials have continued to lay blame on Hamas for their inability to reach a deal. One official privy to negotiation efforts described, "The core truth, there's a deal on the table. It meets nearly all of the demands that Hamas has had, including in key elements, one of which I just spoke with." The official added: "And what they need to do is release the vulnerable category of hostages to get things moving.'"

It reportedly focuses on an initial release of captive women, wounded, elderly, and the sick. Israel has recently acknowledged there's a high likelihood that dozens of hostages have already died.

According to a new Hamas articulation of its demands via Associated Press:

A top Hamas political official told The Associated Press the Islamic militant group is willing to agree to a truce of five years or more with Israel and that it would lay down its weapons and convert into a political party if an independent Palestinian state is established along pre-1967 borders.

The comments by Khalil al-Hayya in an interview Wednesday came amid a stalemate in months of talks for a cease-fire in Gaza. The suggestion that Hamas would disarm appeared to be a significant concession by the militant group officially committed to Israel’s destruction.

The Netanyahu government has already long rejected this as a possibility. Instead the prime minister has vowed to not stop military operations in the Gaza Strip until Hamas is eradicated.

Additionally, there have already been high-level attempts at the UN Security Council to push through a resolution recognizing a Palestinian state, but the US has vetoed this. At this point in the conflict a full demand for a Palestinian state seems to be a non-starter from the perspectives of Tel Aviv and Washington.