Biden Urges Hamas to Accept Israeli Ceasefire Plan to End Gaza Conflict

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Biden Urges Hamas to Accept Israeli Ceasefire Proposal to End Gaza Conflict

In a significant diplomatic move, U.S. President Joe Biden has called on Hamas to accept a new Israeli proposal aimed at ending the ongoing conflict in Gaza. Speaking from the White House on Friday, Biden emphasized the urgency of the situation, stating, “It’s time for this war to end.”

The comprehensive three-part proposal begins with a six-week ceasefire, during which the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) would withdraw from populated areas in Gaza. This period would also see a significant increase in humanitarian aid, along with a prisoner exchange involving hostages held by Hamas and Palestinian prisoners.

“This is truly a decisive moment,” Biden said. “Hamas says it wants a ceasefire. This deal is an opportunity to prove whether they really mean it.” He added that the ceasefire would enable “600 trucks carrying aid into Gaza every single day.”

The second phase of the proposal calls for the release of all remaining hostages, including male soldiers, and would transition the ceasefire into a permanent cessation of hostilities. This phase also includes plans for a major reconstruction effort in Gaza, supported by U.S. and international assistance to rebuild critical infrastructure.

UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres have both expressed their support for the proposal. Cameron urged Hamas to “accept this deal so we can see a stop in the fighting,” while Guterres highlighted the extensive suffering and destruction in Gaza, calling the initiative a vital opportunity for peace.

President Biden acknowledged the challenges ahead, particularly in the negotiations between the first and second phases. Notably, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has recently expressed opposition to ending the war through a ceasefire deal, underscoring the significance of Biden’s call for an end to hostilities.

Despite potential resistance from some Israeli officials, Biden urged the Israeli leadership and people to support the proposal, emphasizing that “we can’t lose this moment.” He also suggested that Hamas has been sufficiently weakened, implying that a repeat of their October 7 attack is unlikely.

In a statement, Netanyahu maintained that the war would not conclude until all hostages are returned and Hamas’ military and governing capabilities are dismantled. He assured that the proposal aligns with these objectives.

Hamas has responded positively to the proposal, appreciating its call for a permanent ceasefire, the withdrawal of Israeli forces, reconstruction efforts, and the exchange of prisoners. The group expressed readiness to engage constructively, provided Israel commits explicitly to a permanent ceasefire.

The proposal has been communicated to Hamas through mediators in Qatar. With civilian casualties in Gaza mounting, Biden faces increasing domestic pressure to mediate a resolution to the conflict. This week, the White House clarified that it does not view Israeli operations in Rafah as a major ground operation that would necessitate a shift in U.S. policy.

The conflict, which began in October with an unprecedented attack by Hamas on Israel, has resulted in significant casualties. Over 36,000 people have been killed across Gaza, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.

In a related development, U.S. lawmakers have invited Prime Minister Netanyahu to address Congress in Washington, though the date remains undecided.

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