Israel-Gaza war: Biden unveils Israeli proposal to end conflict

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image caption, US President Joe Biden said, ‘It’s time for this war to end.’

US President Joe Biden has urged Hamas to accept a new Israeli proposal to end the conflict in Gaza, saying “it’s time for this war to end”.

The three-part proposal would begin with a six-week ceasefire in which the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) would withdraw from populated areas of Gaza.

There will be a “surge” of humanitarian aid, as well as some hostage exchanges for Palestinian prisoners.

The deal would eventually lead to a permanent “ceasefire” and a major reconstruction plan for Gaza.

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Hamas said it views the plan “positively”.

Speaking at the White House on Friday, Mr Biden said the first phase of the proposed plan would include a “full and complete ceasefire”, the withdrawal of IDF forces from populated areas and the exchange of hostages for Palestinian prisoners.

“It was truly a defining moment,” he said. “Hamas says it wants a cease-fire. This deal is an opportunity to prove they really mean it.”

He added that the cease-fire would “allow 600 trucks every day to carry aid into Gaza and more humanitarian aid to reach the besieged territory.”

In the second phase, all the remaining hostages, including the male soldiers, will return. The cease-fire would then become a “permanent cessation of hostilities”.

“We have long argued that a cessation of hostilities can be turned into a lasting peace if we are all prepared to take the right steps,” added Lord Cameron. “Let’s seize this moment and end this conflict.”

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed the development in a post to X, formerly known as Twitter. The world is witnessing “much suffering [and] Devastation in Gaza” and “Time to stop”.

“I’m welcome [President] Biden’s initiative [and] Encourage all parties to seize this opportunity for a ceasefire, release of all hostages, and unimpeded humanitarian access. [and] And finally a lasting peace in the Middle East,” he added.

Mr Biden acknowledged in his speech that negotiations between phases one and two would be difficult.

A few days ago, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made it clear that he was adamantly opposed to agreeing to end the war as part of a cease-fire agreement – making Mr Biden’s reference to the end of the war particularly significant.

While the plan includes many details of earlier, ultimately failed talks, the US calls for a permanent cease-fire appear to be a significant concession designed to try to get Hamas to return to negotiations on terms it has already said it would agree to. A permanent ceasefire is one of the main demands of the group.

The third phase of the proposal would include the return of the remains of dead Israeli hostages, as well as a “major reconstruction program” with US and international assistance to rebuild homes, schools and hospitals.

video title, Biden urges Israel to stand behind three-phase Gaza plan

In his comments, Mr Biden acknowledged that some Israelis – including officials in the Israeli government – might oppose the plan.

“I urged the leadership in Israel to stand behind this agreement,” he said. “Whatever [political] The pressure is on.

The US president also addressed the Israeli people directly, saying, “We cannot afford to miss this moment.”

Mr Biden said Hamas was now too degraded to repeat an attack like the one carried out by its fighters on October 7 – a possible signal to the Israelis that Washington is over the war.

In a statement, Prime Minister Netanyahu insisted that the war would not end until its objectives were achieved, including the return of all hostages and the removal of Hamas’ military and governing capabilities. He said the latest plan would allow Israel to uphold these principles.

Hamas, for its part, said it viewed the plan “positively” because of its calls for a permanent ceasefire, the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza, reconstruction and prisoner exchanges.

The group said it was ready to “deal positively and constructively” with any proposal centered on a permanent ceasefire, provided Israel “announces its clear commitment”.

Another Palestinian official familiar with the negotiations who has seen the new Israeli proposal said the document does not guarantee an end to the war or a complete withdrawal of IDF troops from Gaza.

The plan has been channeled to Hamas through Qatar-based intermediaries.

Faced with mounting civilian casualties in Gaza, President Biden has faced domestic criticism over the level of US support for Israel and called for more to be done to encourage the warring parties to negotiate.

Earlier this week, however, the White House said it did not believe Israeli actions in Rafah would cross a red line and trigger a “major ground operation” that could trigger a potential shift in U.S. policy.

The statement came after at least 45 Palestinians were killed in Israeli air strikes and fire on Sunday.

In a separate announcement on Friday, US lawmakers from both sides of the political spectrum formally invited Mr Netanyahu to address Congress in Washington.

It is not clear when the address will take place.

More than 36,000 people have been killed across Gaza since the conflict began, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.

The war began in October when Hamas gunmen launched an unprecedented attack on Israel, killing about 1,200 people and taking 252 hostages in Gaza.

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