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Hamas accepts Egyptian-Qatari cease-fire proposal

News that Hamas accepted terms of an Egypt-Qatar negotiated cease fire came just as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was wrapping up a visit to a South Bay bio-tech firm.

He made no comments about the potential deal there.

Secretary Blinken is also the keynote speaker at the RSA Cybersecurity Conference in San Francisco where he talked about concerns of emerging technologies like artificial intelligence.

“As confident as we are in its potential, we’re deeply aware of its risks. Displacing jobs, generating false information, promoting bias and discrimination,” Blinken said. “To enabling the destabilizing use of autonomous weapons, so we’re working with our partners to prevent and address these issues.” 

At the state department, spokesman Matthew Miller said the U.S. government has been pressing for a cease fire in Gaza for a while now.

“There has been a significant offer on the table. The ball has been in Hamas’ court, we have made clear that they should accept that offer,” Miller said.

But a senior Israeli official quickly told NBC News the details of this cease fire are not part of the framework the Israeli government agreed to.

Among the conditions, Israel would have to release 33 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for each Israeli hostage, and would have to agree to end military operations in Gaza.

Following a meeting of the Israeli war cabinet, a spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said they will continue with plans for an operation in Rafah while working on a cease fire agreement.

That comes despite what the White House says has been repeated calls by President Biden against moving into southern Gaza including during an extended phone call Monday morning.    

“We cannot and we will not speak for IDF operations. But, we made clear our views about operations in Rafah that could potentially put more than a million innocent people in greater risk. During this call with Prime Minister Netanyahu the president again made this clear,” John Kirby, White House national security communications advisor said.

According to two Biden administration officials, the White House also halted a large shipment of weapons from being sent to Israel last week.

It included 2,000-pound bombs and other ammunition that the White House determined would have likely been used in Rafah.

That decision marks a rare action by the United States to withhold weapons from such a key ally because of those concerns.

Source: NBC Bay Area

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