ITV News Correspondent Robert Moore on how the breakthrough of a deal to release 50 hostages taken by Hamas on October 7 came about
Several countries will take the credit for the hostage deal that was struck last night. Qatar played a central role, pushing Hamas to agree to the terms.
Egypt portrays itself as the key regional interlocutor since it is the only Arab nation that has a border with Gaza, and the Sinai is the sole route in for humanitarian convoys.
America, however, still sees itself as the indispensable power in the Middle East, and the only nation that can exert pressure on Israel.
White House advisers from the National Security Council, along with the CIA Director, have been in secretive talks with all parties to make this deal happen.
The US priority is to get American hostages out, and then try and press for a quick end to the conflict before it spirals out of control.
But here is the problem: Israel sees the ceasefire as temporary and will soon seek to turn its military might onto the southern Gaza Strip.
Whatever the US might say, Israel will not stop until it can claim victory.
The destruction of Hamas may not be possible. But at a minimum, Israel wants to kill or capture the top Hamas leadership, including Mohammed Deif and Yahya Sinwar.
In other words, while this hostage deal and temporary ceasefire may be welcomed by many, it only delays the collision between President Biden and Prime Minister Netanyahu.
Biden is seeking to deescalate; Netanyahu sees the war as just beginning. The politics of this for Biden are especially challenging. He faces an election year with his party divided.
Progressives are furious with the White House for its decision to back Israel to the hilt. Many on the left accuse Biden of being complicit in war crimes.
But many moderate Democrats support Biden’s pro-Israel stance and want him to show continuing solidarity with the IDF’s military campaign.
So, Biden is left to navigate a conflict that has divided America and the Democratic Party. He knows the hardest part still lies ahead.
Ultimately, the aim of US diplomacy is to reinvigorate a peace process that has at its core the idea of a two state solution.
But that now looks delusional. America has failed. Failed to anticipate the consequences of ignoring the Palestinian cause for years. Failed to insist that extremist Jewish settlers on the West Bank are reined in. Failed to make its huge flow of aid to Israel conditional on diplomatic progress.
So, even if some hostages emerge blinking into the sunlight after six weeks in captivity, the Biden White House cannot escape responsibility for the fact that this catastrophe happened on its diplomatic watch.
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