Politics & News

Biden Lays Out 3-phase Proposal to End Gaza War

US President Joe Biden on Friday laid out the details of a three-phase proposal offered by Israel for a ceasefire in Gaza.

He said that the proposed deal would lead to the release of the remaining hostages in Gaza and could end the devastating 8-month war in the Gaza Strip.

New Peace Proposal

In a White House address, Biden pointed out that the Israeli offensive in Gaza has degraded Hamas capabilities and the time has come to reach a ceasefire and end the grinding conflict.

“Hamas no longer is capable of carrying out another October 7, just one of Israel’s main objectives in this war,” he said. The US President urged Hamas to accept a new peace proposal he said Israel has offered. “It’s time for this war to end … for the day after to begin,” he added.

Biden Lays Out a 3-phase Proposal to End Gaza War
Destruction in Jabalia refugee camp after Israeli troops withdrawal

Proposal Details

The first phase of the proposed deal would involve a six-week “full and complete” ceasefire, during which the Israeli forces would withdraw from all densely populated areas of Gaza. It would also include the release of some hostages, including women, elderly and wounded people, in exchange for the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners.

In this phase, Palestinian civilians could return to their homes in Gaza and human assistance would increase, with the entry of 600 trucks a day to the Strip. In addition, American hostages would be freed and the remains of deceased hostages would be returned to their families.

Biden said Hamas and Israel would negotiate a permanent ceasefire that would last “as long as Hamas lives up to its commitments.” The temporary ceasefire would extend if negotiations took more than six weeks. The US, Egypt, and Qatar would work to ensure negotiations keep going until both sides reach all the agreements, he added.

Permanent Ceasefire

According to the US President, the second phase would include the release of all remaining living hostages, including male soldiers, and Israeli forces would withdraw from Gaza. The permanent ceasefire would begin.

The third phase would involve the start of a major reconstruction plan for Gaza and the return of the “final remains” of deceased hostages to their families.

Biden Lays Out a 3-phase Proposal to End Gaza War
Destruction in Jabalia refugee camp after Israeli troops withdrawal

Positive Reaction

The Israeli proposal was transmitted to Hamas on Thursday. In a statement, the group said it viewed the proposal “positively,” reported Reuters.

Hamas expressed its readiness to engage “positively and in a constructive manner” with any proposal that includes a permanent ceasefire, a complete withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza, a return of displaced people, and a “genuine” prisoner exchange deal if Israel “clearly announces commitment to such deal.”

Following Biden’s speech, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said he had authorized Israel’s hostage negotiating team to present the deal, but insisted “the war will not end until all of its goals are achieved, including the return of all our hostages and the destruction of Hamas’ military and governmental capabilities.”

As a sign of US support for the proposal, the US State Department said that Secretary Anthony Blinken briefed his counterparts from Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Turkey on the proposal.

Seizing Opportunity

The US President addressed those in Israel who were pushing for the war to continue “indefinitely,” urging the Israeli leadership to resist their pressures. He said: “They want to occupy Gaza. They want to keep fighting for years and hostages are not a priority for them. Well, I’ve urged leadership in Israel to stand behind this deal, despite whatever pressure comes.”

Biden called on Israelis not to miss this opportunity for a ceasefire. “As the only American president who has ever gone to Israel at a time of war, as someone who just sent the US forces to directly defend Israel when it was attacked by Iran, I ask you to take a step back, think what will happen if this moment is lost. We can’t lose this moment,” he said.

After Biden’s address, leaders of Democratic-led US Senate and Republican-led House of Representative invited Netanyahu to deliver an address at the US Capitol, though they didn’t set out a date.

Ongoing Military Operations

After more than two weeks of intense fighting and over 200 airstrikes in Jabalia, the Israeli military said in a statement its forces had completed their operation and withdrawn to prepare for other operations in Gaza.

Meanwhile, Israeli troops are digging into Rafah in southern Gaza to target what they say is the last major redoubt of Hamas battalions. Last Sunday, Israeli airstrikes killed 45 Palestinians in Rafah after the strikes targeted a displacement center, triggering a fire that injured over 200 of displaced people and caused massive destruction.

Israeli Airstrikes Kill Dozens in Rafah, Spark Int’l Condemnations
Israeli airstrikes target Palestinians in Rafah

Following October 7 and the Israeli invasion of Gaza, the death toll has exceeded 36,000 people, according to the estimates of the Gaza Health Ministry. Moreover, the UN says over one million Palestinians face “catastrophic” levels of hunger as parts of Gaza are on the brink of famine.

In this regard, Biden said: “The Palestinian people have endured sheer hell in this war. We all saw the terrible images from the deadly fire in Rafah earlier this week.”

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