While Hamas and Israel are experts in shaping blame to the other side in hopes no deal will be reached, the IDF has taken complete operational control of the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing in the early hours of Tuesday, May 7, 2024. 

An Israeli source revealed that recent adjustments to a ceasefire proposal by Egypt and Qatar are designed to pressure Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu into acceptance. This follows Hamas’s endorsement of the modified proposal, which includes assurances on Israel’s commitment to a ceasefire post-kidnapper release—terms not previously agreed by Israel. As a result, the decision now rests with Netanyahu, as Hamas prepares for further negotiations in Cairo. The Israeli government has yet to approve the proposal, considering it significantly different from their accepted terms.

Ismail Haniyeh, leader of Hamas, announced that the decision on a ceasefire in Gaza now rests with Israel, following Hamas’ acceptance of truce terms suggested by Egypt and Qatar. In discussions with Iran’s foreign minister, Haniyeh conveyed Hamas’ commitment to advocating for Palestinian rights under any political settlement, which includes demands to cease hostilities, exchange prisoners, end the blockade on Gaza, and initiate reconstruction. The ceasefire plan comprises three phases and aims to halt the ongoing conflict, leading to the release of captives on both sides.

Israel Radio on Tuesday morning cites Israeli officials that Hamas’s allegedly favorable response on the hostage/prisoner/pause deal does not include 33 hostages alive as assumed by negotiators on all sides as the first phase of a ‘humanitarian’ release: women, older men, and injured. Could involve dead bodies. According to the report, Hamas insists 50:1 ratio (not surprise) of Hamas prisoner release for each of the four-woman soldiers. Prisoners are hard-core/serving life sentences.

On both sides, the Americans and Israelis, the level of trust is running low when dealing with ceasefire negotiations. Israeli officials expressed disappointment with the U.S. for not briefing them about a new Hamas ceasefire proposal negotiated by Egypt and Qatar, which Hamas accepted. The U.S. insists it has kept Israel informed, with no surprises in the difficult negotiation process conducted through intermediaries. The unfolding situation has deepened tensions between the U.S. and Israel, with Israeli suspicions growing that the U.S. gave assurances to Hamas the cease-fire would become permanent after the hostage release. 

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Biden administration has delayed the delivery of precision-guided munitions to Israel, including MK-82 bombs and JDAM kits. This decision aligns with U.S. efforts to discourage a full-scale Israeli invasion of Rafah in southern Gaza. The arms agreement, initially finalized in February, remains unfulfilled, though the White House has reiterated its unwavering commitment to Israel’s security.

Israel is reportedly frustrated with the United States’ handling of hostage talks. Israeli officials claim the Biden administration was familiar with the latest hostage and ceasefire deal proposal Egypt and Qatar negotiated with Hamas but didn’t brief Israel before Hamas announced it accepted it yesterday. A senior U.S. official pushed back, saying, “American diplomats have been engaged with Israeli counterparts. There have been no surprises.” Barak Ravid reports for Axios.

“The Biden administration is holding up shipments of two types of Boeing-made precision bombs to send a political message to Israel, according to a U.S. official and six other people with knowledge of the deliberations.”

Israel believes that the Hamas military leadership and its remaining four battalions of organized troops are in or near Rafah and that the full defeat of Hamas requires attacking them there, even if the fighting and civilian casualties arouse harsh American and international criticism,” CFR expert Elliott Abrams writes for Foreign Affairs

In a phone call on Monday, President Joe Biden cautioned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu against a potential military offensive in Rafah, Gaza, with Biden emphasizing a cease-fire as the best strategy to protect lives. The discussions also addressed the deteriorating situation, with both leaders facing increased public and international pressure for peace. Netanyahu, however, reaffirmed Israel’s stance on self-defense in a recent speech, despite global calls for de-escalation.

When President Biden and Netanyahu spoke yesterday to discuss hostage deal negotiations and Israel’s preparations for an offensive in Rafah, Biden reiterated “his clear position on Rafah,” the White House said. According to the White House, Netanyahu told Biden he would “ensure the Kerem Shalom crossing is open for humanitarian assistance,” after it was closed Sunday in response to a rocket attack claimed by Hamas. Barak Ravid reports for Axios; The Washington Post reports.

Israeli officials claim the Biden administration knew about the deal proposal Egypt and Qatar negotiated with Hamas but didn’t brief Israel before Hamas announced it accepted it on Monday. A senior U.S. official pushed back saying “American diplomats have been engaged with Israeli counterparts. There have been no surprises.”

Yesterday’s Gazan short-lived celebration of a ceasefire that was not to be, highlights what is at stake in the seven-month-old war and Israel’s refusal to end the carnage.

“We have shown the world that we survived this war as Palestinians. We stood our ground on our land. We survived 212 days of attacks and devastation by the world’s most advanced weapons. We did not leave. We survived on our own with no help from outside,” said Ahmad, a young Gazan, one of the thousands celebrating in the streets of Rafah Hamas’ acceptance of a ceasefire with Israel.

US concerns over Israel’s Gaza policy led to weapons holdup is not holding Netanyahu’s IDF from rolling into Rafah. While holding up shipments of two types of Boeing-made precision bombs to send a political message to Israel, it “has not formally denied the potential sale, it is essentially taking action through inaction — holding off on approvals and other aspects of the weapons transfer process — to send a message to Israel, a U.S. administration official familiar with the process told POLITICO. The official, along with others, was granted anonymity to discuss sensitive internal deliberations.”

On May 8, the Biden Administration reports to Congress on whether Israel’s military operation in Rafah does adhere to international human rights law, and to accept Israel’s assurances on adhering to international humanitarian law – a condition for providing offensive military equipment. 

The question remains how the United States continues turning a blind eye to the level of atrocities and carnage being caused by Israel in Gaza.

A 6 month of genocide war against a trapped population, produced over 34 thousand deaths, and the international community continues going to great lengths to appease Israel’s APARTHEID regime.