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U.S. National Security adviser urges unyielding efforts for hostage release

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In a press conference on Sunday, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan declared the United States’ unwavering commitment to relentlessly pursue the release of hostages held by Hamas. As the conflict between Israel and Hamas persists, Sullivan highlighted Israel’s proposal for a hostage deal, emphasizing the need for a sustained pause in hostilities to facilitate life-saving assistance to Gaza.

Speaking on “Face the Nation,” Sullivan underscored the national security interest of the United States in achieving a hostage deal that secures the release of hostages, including Americans. He mentioned recent discussions with the leaders of Egypt and Qatar, emphasizing the paramount priority the U.S. places on the matter.

Sullivan revealed that Israel had presented a hostage proposal, shifting the responsibility to Hamas for the next steps. He referenced the successful hostage diplomacy in late October, led by the U.S. and Qatar, resulting in the release of dual U.S.-Israeli hostages. In December, over 100 hostages, including two U.S. citizens, were released during a weeklong pause in fighting. However, Sullivan estimated that six U.S. hostages may still be in captivity.

The national security adviser’s comments coincided with public sentiment in the U.S., where an AP-NORC survey indicated that 50% of adults believe Israel’s military campaign in Gaza has gone too far. Only 31% approved of President Biden’s handling of the conflict, signaling a decline from previous support.

Addressing concerns about the suffering of the Palestinian people, Sullivan acknowledged the administration’s stance that Israel has the right to respond to the attacks but emphasized the need to address the humanitarian crisis. He outlined ongoing efforts to provide assistance to the Gaza Strip and highlighted Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s imminent visit to the region. Blinken is expected to stress the importance of prioritizing the needs of the Palestinian people and ensuring access to essential resources such as food, medicine, water, and shelter.

Sullivan concluded by affirming the U.S.’s commitment to pressuring Israel until these objectives are met, signaling a proactive approach to both the diplomatic and humanitarian aspects of the ongoing conflict.

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