(Bloomberg) -- Secretary of State Antony Blinken lands in Egypt on Monday and is expected to meet President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi as the US attempts to push a last-ditch cease-fire proposal publicly endorsed by President Joe Biden but brushed off so far by both Israel and Hamas.

Blinken is first set to meet senior officials in Egypt, which along with Qatar has been helping mediate between Israel and Hamas. Blinken then travels to Israel where he is expected to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose government is under renewed pressure after retired general Benny Gantz resigned from the emergency war cabinet. 

The visit marks Blinken’s eighth trip to the Middle East since the war broke out in October, when militants from Hamas – a US and EU- designated terrorist group – stormed into southern Israel, killing about 1,200 and abducting some 250.

The trip, part of the ongoing “shuttle diplomacy” by the Biden administration’s top envoy, comes after Israel freed four hostages held for roughly eight months in a large-scale operation that has again put the region on edge. While Israel said its forces killed around 100, the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza said the death toll exceeded 270.

Blinken’s trip, which also includes stops in Jordan and Qatar, is part of a full-court press by Biden administration officials to secure participation from both Israel and Hamas in a three-phase, cease-fire deal that would see a temporary halt to the fighting and the release of some Israeli hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners.

That would be followed by what Biden conceded would be tough talks to reach phase two, where a permanent end to the fighting would result in the release of all remaining hostages – including captured soldiers – and a withdrawal of Israeli forces from the coastal enclave. The third phase would see the reconstruction of Gaza, large parts of which have been reduced to rubble by Israeli air strikes, shelling and other military operations.

Since Biden announced this potential deal on May 31, calling it an Israeli proposal and urging Hamas officials to sign on, both sides to the conflict have distanced themselves from the arrangement. 

One fundamental disagreement – which has dogged talks since the beginning – is that Hamas has generally insisted on a permanent cease-fire. Israel’s leadership wants a temporary pause that could see hostages freed but allow the country to follow through on its goal of totally destroying Hamas.

‘Decisive Moment’

Blinken and other senior US officials have said the Israeli deal is a good one — with Biden calling it a “decisive moment” — and have urged Hamas to agree, saying the militant group is standing in the way of an end to the deadly fighting. The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza has estimated that about 36,000 Palestinians have been killed since October.

But the trip also comes at a time of renewed political tumult in Israel, after Gantz quit the country’s emergency government, calling for elections and criticizing Netanyahu’s handling of the war.

Gantz said in a speech he supports the cease-fire proposed by Biden. He added that true victory puts bringing home the hostages “above political survival” – a clear reference to Netanyahu – as well as establishing a regional alliance against Iran led by the US.

That development could complicate US diplomacy to push through the cease-fire by leaving Netanyahu more reliant on his ring-wing coalition partners, who have threatened to collapse the government if he attempts to pursue a peace deal. They have even called for expanding the war from Gaza to Israel’s northern border with Lebanon, where Israeli forces have been exchanging fire with Iran-backed Hezbollah militants.

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