Newsroom | Israel Hamas War | Joe Biden proposed a ceasefire, Israel rejected it, Benjamin Netanyahu put forward his conditions

US President Joe Biden on Friday presented Israel’s three-step proposal for a ceasefire in Gaza in exchange for the release of Israeli hostages. He said “it’s time to end this war” and received a positive initial response from Hamas. US President Joe Biden on Friday claimed that Hamas is no longer capable of launching another large-scale attack on Israel. He also urged Israel and Hamas to release the remaining hostages and reach a ceasefire agreement. Biden discussed the eight-month-long war between Israel and Hamas. The Israeli military confirmed on Friday that its forces are now preparing to attack the central parts of Rafah. Talking about the three-step agreement offered to Hamas by Israeli officials, Biden said, “This is really a decisive moment.” He said, “Israel has put forward its proposal. Hamas says it also wants a ceasefire. In such a situation, this agreement is an opportunity to prove whether they really want it. Earlier this month, a ceasefire agreement between Hamas and Israel was blocked from happening because Hamas had demanded that Israeli forces completely withdraw from Gaza after the war ends and in return Hamas would release all their hostages, but Israel had rejected this demand of Hamas.

Biden issues proposal for three-phase ceasefire

The first phase involves a six-week ceasefire, when Israeli forces will withdraw from “all populated areas” of Gaza, some hostages – including the elderly and women – will be released in exchange for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, Palestinian civilians can return to their homes in Gaza and 600 trucks a day will deliver humanitarian aid to the devastated territory. In this phase, Hamas and Israel will negotiate a permanent ceasefire, which Biden said would last “as long as Hamas lives up to its commitments.” If the talks take longer than six weeks, the temporary ceasefire will continue for as long as they continue.

In the second phase, Biden said all remaining hostages, including male soldiers, would be swapped, Israeli forces would withdraw from Gaza and a permanent ceasefire would begin. The third phase would include a major reconstruction plan for Gaza and returning the “last remnants” of hostages to their families. “It’s time for the war to end and the next day to begin,” said Biden, who is under election-year pressure to stop the Gaza conflict, now in its eighth month. Hamas, which Biden said had received the offer from Qatar, issued a statement responding positively. Hamas said it was ready to engage “in a positive and constructive way” with any proposal based on a permanent ceasefire, withdrawal of Israeli forces, reconstruction of Gaza, return of displaced persons and a “genuine” prisoner swap deal if Israel “clearly declares a commitment to such a deal”.

Israel responded to Biden’s proposal

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said he had authorized his negotiating team to present the deal, “while stressing that 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 government capabilities.” Also, the Israeli military said its forces had ended operations in the Jabalia region of northern Gaza after several days of fierce fighting, while they were probing further into Rafah in southern Gaza to target what they call the area’s last major Hamas stronghold.

The conflict began on October 7 when gunmen led by the Islamist Palestinian group raided southern Israel on motorcycles, paragliders and four-wheel-drive vehicles, killing 1,200 people and kidnapping more than 250, according to Israeli figures. Israel then invaded the Gaza Strip, which Netanyahu has described as an attempt to destroy Hamas, a militant Palestinian group that seized control of the territory from the Fatah Palestinian faction in a violent conflict in 2007. Talks brokered by Egypt, Qatar and others to arrange a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas have repeatedly stalled, with each side blaming the other for the lack of progress.

an indefinite war

In his speech, Biden called on the Israeli leadership to resist pressure from those in Israel who were pushing to continue the war “indefinitely,” a group that he said included some in the Israeli ruling coalition.

They said “They want to occupy Gaza. They want to keep fighting for years and hostages are not a priority for them. Well, I have urged the leadership in Israel to stand behind this deal, no matter what pressure comes.

He urged the Israelis not to miss the chance for a ceasefire.

“As the only American president to visit Israel in a time of war, as the one to send American forces to defend Israel if Iran attacked, I ask you to take a step back, think about what would happen if this moment were lost,” he said. “We cannot lose this moment.”

Gaza war puts Biden in political trouble

On the one hand, he has long been a staunch supporter of Israel and wants to ensure funding and support from the pro-Israel community in the United States in his reelection bid in the November 5 election against Republican former President Donald Trump.

On the other hand, progressive elements of Biden’s Democratic Party are increasingly angry at the president for the suffering the conflict has caused to civilians in Gaza. Palestinian health officials estimate that more than 36,280 people have died in Gaza since the Israeli assault, and the United Nations says more than one million people face “catastrophic” levels of hunger as famine spreads across parts of the enclave.

Indicating a US effort to garner support for the proposal, the State Department said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke to his Jordanian, Saudi and Turkish counterparts. Speaking to the Turkish Foreign Minister, “He stressed that Hamas must accept the deal and that every country that has relations with Hamas should press them to do so without delay.

In a sign of support for Israel despite partisan divisions in the United States, the leaders of the Democratic-led US Senate and the Republican-led House of Representatives invited Netanyahu to address a joint meeting of Congress on Friday.

The discussions focused on the consequences of the Israeli air strike in Rafah on Sunday this week that killed 45 Palestinians. “The Palestinian people have suffered a terrible fate in this war. We all saw the horrific images of the deadly fire in Rafah earlier this week,” Biden said on Friday.

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