On Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Shri Thanedar (D-MI) suggested that former President Barack Obama should be appointed as chief negotiator to free Hamas-held hostages.
Approximately 230 civilians from two dozen countries are still being held hostage. They were taken during the Oct. 7 attack on Israeli civilian targets that left more than 1,300 dead.
Multiple accounts of horrific violence — on women and children — moved Israel to respond in force, vowing to destroy the Hamas terrorist network in Gaza.
Pro-Palestinian groups have urged a cease-fire. Others have suggested a pause to allow humanitarian aid to enter Gaza. Israeli leaders have thus far rejected calls for a cease-fire, citing Hamas leadership’s recent promises to regroup and repeat Oct. 7 type atrocities.
Authorities in Israel and Egypt have also documented how Hamas has blocked civilians from fleeing the area and has appropriated medical supplies, food and fuel, and continues to use civilians as human shields.
Thanedar is calling for a 72-hour “humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza” to negotiate the release of hostages. Israel has stated that cease-fire talks will follow, not precede the release of hostages.
Thanedar suggested to President Biden that Obama would be perfect for the role of “chief negotiator.”
An excerpt of his letter to President Biden reads:
“Today, I am calling on Israel to institute a 72-hour humanitarian pause to negotiate the release of the hostages held by Hamas and the surrender of Hamas leaders responsible for the Oct. 7 attack.
“During this pause, President Biden should appoint a chief negotiator to bring all parties to the table. I can think of no one better than former President Barack Obama to lead these efforts. If, at the end of 72 hours, no sufficient progress has been made, Israel should resume its military operations with the goal of destroying Hamas while minimizing civilian casualties.”
Thanedar also contended that in offering a pause, Israel would force Hamas to demonstrate it was committed to the welfare of the citizens they were elected to protect.
Noteworthy is that Obama is not viewed by Israeli leadership as a friend of Israel. This view has hardened in recent days as the former president publicly criticized Israel’s offensive in Gaza — calling its presence in the area as an “occupation.”
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