Politics & News

Pressures Mount for Netanyahu after Biden’s Gaza Proposal

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is facing mounting pressure at home, as many Israelis push for embracing a proposed ceasefire deal while his far-right allies threaten to break up his government if he yields to the deal.

On Friday, US President Joe Biden laid out the details of what he said a three-phase deal proposed by Israel for a ceasefire in Gaza, which would lead to the release of the remaining hostages and bring the 8-month war to an end.

Israeli Conditions

The Israeli Prime Minister called a permanent ceasefire in Gaza a “nonstarter” unless Israel’s longstanding conditions to end the war are met, reported the Associated Press (AP).

In a statement on Saturday, Netanyahu insisted that “Israel’s conditions for ending the war have not changed: the destruction of Hamas’ military and governing capabilities, the freeing of all hostages and ensuring that Gaza no longer poses a threat to Israel.”

He added: “Under the proposal, Israel will continue to insist these conditions are met before a permanent cease-fire is put in place.”

Endorsing the Proposal

Biden said on Friday that Hamas is “no longer capable of carrying out another October 7.” He urged both sides to accept the proposed deal to end the war.

In addition to the US, mediators Egypt and Qatar said the proposed deal offers a “roadmap for a permanent cease-fire and ending the crisis.” They added it provides an immediate relief for hostages and people of Gaza. The UN, the UK, France, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have all expressed support for Biden’s proposal.

Protests in Israel

After Netanyahu’s statement, protestors took to the streets across Israel on Saturday night, calling for his resignation and holding early elections.

Pressures Mount on Netanyahu after Biden's Gaza Proposal
A huge demonstration in Israel against Netanyahu’s government

Led by families of the remaining hostages, protestors called for the release of all hostages held in Gaza and for the acceptance of the deal proposed by Biden. They urged the Israeli government to act now, saying time was running out.

Similarly, Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid urged the government to accept the deal. He wrote on X: “The Israeli government cannot ignore President Biden’s significant speech. There is a deal on the table and it needs to be done.”

Lapid offered his party’s support to Netanyahu in securing a hostage deal if far-right ministers Itamar Ben Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich left the government.

Israeli Reluctance

The families of hostages said they had a tense meeting Thursday with Israel’s national security adviser, Tzachi Hanegbi. He told them that the Israeli government wasn’t ready to sign a deal to return hostages. Moreover, he said that there was no plan B.

As a result, many hostages’ families accuse the Israeli government of a lack of will.

Sharone Lifschitz, whose mother was freed in November but her father is still held, told AP: “We know that the government of Israel has done an awful lot to delay reaching a deal, and that has cost the lives of many people who survived in captivity for weeks and weeks and months and months.”

Pressures Mount on Netanyahu after Biden's Gaza Proposal
Protestors demand a hostage deal

Far-right Resistance

On the other hand, Netanyahu’s far-right allies threatened to collapse his government if he accepts the deal.

Israeli Far-right Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and Minister of National Security Itamar Ben Gvir said they would break up the government if Netanyahu takes the deal.

This could put Netanyahu at a disadvantage. It could expose him to an early election, scrutiny over security failures that caused the war, and prosecution on corruption charges if he loses his post as a prime minister.

Positive Reaction

In response to Biden’s proposal, Hamas said it viewed the proposal “positively.” The group said it is ready 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.

The first phase of the deal would involve a six-week “full and complete” ceasefire, and a withdrawal of Israeli troops 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.

The second phase would include the release of all remaining living hostages, including male soldiers, and Israeli forces would withdraw from Gaza. And the third phase would involve the start of a major reconstruction plan for Gaza.

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