Biden announces Israeli proposal for ceasefire in Gaza and asks Hamas to accept it | International

Israel has presented a new three-phase peace plan that foresees an end to the peace hostilities in Gaza and whose first phase, a six-week ceasefire, would take effect immediately if Hamas accepts it. This was announced on Friday by the President of the United States, Joe Biden, in a speech at the White House. In his speech, Biden called on the Palestinian fundamentalist militia to accept the proposal, which was conveyed to Hamas by Qatari mediators on Thursday.

The Israeli plan represents a new attempt, after several frustrated occasions, to revive the idea of ​​ending the war in Gaza in exchange for an exchange of Israeli hostages for Palestinian prisoners between Hamas and Israel. If he is successful this time, Biden would get a huge boost at difficult times in his re-election campaign, when his popularity has not yet risen, his rival Donald Trump leads him in the polls and the young votes, and the progressive is in danger of disappearing. give him the upper hand for his continued support of Israel in a war in which more than 35,000 Palestinians have been killed, according to Gaza Health Ministry figures.

“After intensive diplomatic activities carried out by my team, in talks with leaders of Israel, Qatar, Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries, Israel has made a new comprehensive proposal for a lasting ceasefire and the release of all hostages “, Biden indicated in an appearance in the East Room of the White House, which was included at the last minute in his official program for this Friday. “It is time for this war to end and for the next day to begin.”

“It is a decisive moment,” the president emphasized, describing the initiative as a “road map.” The first phase would, as he explained, include a “complete” ceasefire some of the Israeli hostages held in Gaza. Particularly for women, the elderly, the sick and injured. The remains of several hostages who died in captivity would also be transferred. In return, hundreds of Palestinian prisoners would be released.

The plan means Palestinian citizens can return to their homes – though Many of those homes no longer exist. by the Israeli offensive – and 600 trucks of humanitarian aid enter the Gaza Strip every day.

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During those six weeks, the conditions for entering phase two would be negotiated. This phase would include a permanent ceasefire, during which all remaining living hostages, including Israeli soldiers, would be released and a full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza would take place. If negotiations were extended, the interim truce would continue as long as the sides continued to talk, Biden said.

The third phase envisages “a major reconstruction operation” in Gaza and the delivery of the remains of hostages who had not yet been returned to their families.

So far, attempts to agree on a ceasefire and hostage exchanges have failed as Hamas demanded a permanent ceasefire and Israel rejected a complete end to hostilities.

As a senior White House official said in a call with journalists after Biden's speech, the second and third phases would have a duration similar to that of the first, namely 42 days. According to this official, the Israeli offer now on the table is almost identical to what Hamas had demanded in previous rounds of negotiations, so the fundamentalist group should accept the plan as soon as possible. “Hamas says it wants a ceasefire and this agreement is an opportunity to show it means it.”

“This is actually already a roadmap to end this crisis. It's a detailed four-and-a-half-page agreement… painstakingly negotiated down to the smallest detail. And what is now on the table is a tool to end this process,” the senior official added.

Hamas is “devastated”

According to Biden, the Israeli offer is possible because Hamas is “devastated” after eight months of war and “is no longer able to repeat attacks like those of October 7” last year, in which Nearly 1,200 people died in Israel and that accelerated the start of the war in Gaza.

Just this Friday, the Shin Bet, Israel's internal intelligence service, had announced the killing of 18 members of a Hamas unit that coordinated the execution of attacks on Israeli targets from the West Bank from Gaza. Among the members of this 'Hamas cell' who have been killed as a result of Israeli operations in the south of the Gaza Strip is Yassin Rabia, head of the unit, the newspaper said. The times of Israel.

Announcing the new Israeli offer, the US president also acknowledged that “not everyone in Israel will support this proposal,” but urged those who criticize it to support it anyway: “I ask you to pause for a moment ​​and think about what would happen. if this opportunity is lost.”

Biden's announcement comes as Israel's armed forces have confirmed they have expanded its activities in Rafah, the last city in Gaza that Israel had not yet controlled, and are deployed in the center of this city on the border with Egypt, in the south of the Strip. The White House assured this week that the Israeli operation did not amount to a full-fledged invasion and therefore did not exceed the limits it had warned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government against. The US president had warned that an offensive in Rafah would cause him to reconsider the supply of weapons to Israel, which is essential for that country's armed forces to continue their operations in the Gaza Strip.

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