Blinkenspeak, Translated: Hamas Yanked the Football ... Again

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

What happened yesterday in hostage-swap negotiations? Hamas provided some sort of formal response, but ... so far, no one will say explicitly what it was. Hamas claims that they added "amendments" and asked for clarifications. Israel claimed that Hamas rejected it in favor of the same maximalist demands they have made all along. The White House hasn't yet commented on it, but the media -- and Hamas -- claim that negotiators consider it a positive response. Antony Blinken weighed in this morning to scold Hamas, but also to pledge to work with their response.


Gee, who should we believe?

Let's start with Hamas. According to the Jerusalem Post's sources in Egypt, the terrorists want the US to guarantee an end to fighting even if the hostage swaps get delayed:

Hamas wants written guarantees from the United States for a permanent ceasefire and the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Gaza Strip in order to sign off on a US-backed truce proposal, two Egyptian security sources said. ...

The Egyptian sources and a third source with knowledge of the talks said Hamas had concerns that the current proposal does not provide explicit guarantees over the transition from the first phase of the plan, which includes a six-week truce and the release of some hostages, to the second phase, which includes a permanent ceasefire and Israeli withdrawal.

The Egyptian sources said Hamas would only accept the plan if the guarantees were in place, and Egypt was in contact with the US about the demand.

"Hamas wants reassurances of an automatic transition from one phase to another as per the agreement laid out by President Biden," the third source said.

Will the US act as a guarantor for a terrorist network? Under Joe Biden ... probably, even while Hamas still holds American hostages. This is the same president that abandoned 14,000 Americans to the Taliban just to claim he ended a war, after all. This White House has been running interference against Israel on Hamas' behalf for months. Biden will do anything to save ... Michigan.


According to Israel, Biden won't get that chance. Two Israeli officials told Axios' Barak Ravid yesterday that Hamas essentially rewrote the deal to which Israel agreed, under pressure from Biden. Their "amendments" (or "comments," as Hamas also called them) amounted to a rejection of the terms of the cease-fire:

Hamas has rejected an Israeli proposal for a hostage and ceasefire deal, two Israeli officials tell Axios. Hamas has not confirmed the Israeli claim. ...

  • Senior Hamas official Osama Hamdan told Al Mayadeen on Tuesday that Hamas' official response included several comments on the Israeli proposal.
  • The Israeli officials did not say what aspects of the proposal they're claiming Hamas rejected.

The Times of Israel reports that one of the key 'amendments' was a demand that the IDF withdraw from the Philadelphi Corridor, apparently immediately:

Hamas spokesman Jihad Taha said the response included “amendments that confirm the ceasefire, withdrawal, reconstruction and [hostage] exchange.”

The amendments included an updated timeline for the permanent ceasefire and withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza — including from Rafah and the Philadelphi corridor along the Egypt-Gaza border — according to an official from one of the mediating countries who requested anonymity.

That won't fly with the Israelis. The IDF has discovered massive capacity for arms and money to move into Gaza from Egypt with a more sophisticated tunnel system under the Philadelphi Corridor than first thought. They certainly won't allow Hamas to reopen those at any time, nor to give Hamas access to the Rafah gate again. To withdraw from that sector, especially early in the process, is to allow Hamas to rearm rapidly.


That's why Hamas considers its response "positive," and why the Israelis say it's a differeny deal than they approved with Biden. But what are the mediators saying about the Hamas response? Tellingly, bupkis:

  • Qatar and Egypt said in the statement that they will continue their mediation efforts together with the U.S. in order to reach an agreement.
  • "The mediators will study Hamas' response and will coordinate with the relevant parties regarding next steps," the statement said.
  • White House spokesman John Kirby said the U.S. also received Hamas' response and is evaluating it.

This silence speaks volumes. If Hamas had accepted the proposal, all of the mediators would have leaped to the podiums to tell the media about Peace In Our Time. Joe Biden and the White House would have scheduled a press briefing to crowd Hunter's conviction out of the news cycle. Benjamin Netanyahu would have alerted the hostage families to get a pause on the pressure campaign they have (very understandably) waged for months to get their relatives and friends out of the hands of the bloodthirsty savages of October 7.

If everyone has to 'evaluate' the response for a couple of days before talking about it, then Hamas didn't accept the deal. The White House is using the time to try to spin the outcome in a way that doesn't make them look like Charlie Brown after his place-kick follow-through. 


Antony Blinken all but admitted failure in Blinkenspeak just a short while ago, in fact, calling the Hamas amendments "far reaching":

Blinken said that "instead of responding positively to the [ceasefire and hostage release] proposal, they are demanding far-reaching changes to the agreement." 

Blinken continued to say, "Some of Hamas's changes go beyond what was previously agreed upon, but we will continue to push for the implementation of the deal. I believe that these gaps can be bridged."

Er ... no they can't. The real gaps are: (a) Hamas wants to annihilate Israel and enslave the Jews, and (b) the Israelis want secure borders and an end to Iranian proxy wars. Eight months of this bait-and-switch should have taught Blinken something about the nature of terrorism in general and the nature of Hamas in particular. Yahya Sinwar believes he's winning, in large part because Biden and Blinken are working overtime to ensure Hamas survives the war Sinwar started and wanted. Sinwar does not want a lasting peace or a "permanent cease-fire"; he wants enough time to rebuild his forces for the next war to annihilate Israel. The rejection of this deal makes that painfully obvious to everyone but the painfully obtuse engaging in Blinkenspeak.


It's time to remove the US from these negotiations. When the Gazans present a different set of leadership willing to capitulate and return all the hostages without conditions, they can let us know. Until then, we should stop helping Hamas and Sinwar defeat our ally. 

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