Biden calls on Hamas to accept a new Israeli ceasefire plan to end the war

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden on Friday announced Israel’s ceasefire proposal, saying the three-phase plan presented to Hamas represents the best chance to end the war.

Biden, in a speech from the White House, called on people around the world who are calling for an end to the war in the Middle East to put pressure on the Iran-backed terrorist organization to accept the agreement. If successful, it will begin with a six-week ceasefire and end with the reconstruction of Gaza.

“For months, people around the world have been calling for a ceasefire,” Biden said. “Now is the time to raise our voices and demand that Hamas come to the table, agree to this agreement and end the war they started.”

Biden also called on Israel’s leaders to stand firmly behind the ceasefire proposal, urging them to reject those at home and in government who believe the war should continue no matter what.

“I know that there are those in Israel who will not agree with this plan and will call for the war to continue indefinitely. “Some – some – are even in the government coalition and they’ve made it clear that they want to occupy Gaza, they want to fight for years, and hostages are not a priority for them,” Biden said. “Well, I urged Israel’s leaders to stand by this agreement, despite all the pressure.”

Rejecting the proposal or taking no real action to move through the three phases would be detrimental to Israel’s security, Biden said.

“It won’t bring the hostages home. This will not bring a lasting defeat for Hamas. This will not provide Israel with lasting security,” Biden said.

Months of war, thousands of victims

The war began on October 7 when Hamas attacked Israel, killing approximately 1,200 people and taking more than 200 hostages. Since then, Israel has been at war with the terrorist organization throughout Gaza.

During the eight-month war, the number of civilian deaths in the occupied territory increased significantly, and the lack of tidy water, food, shelter and medical care worsened. The death toll has risen to more than 35,000, according to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, which says most of the victims are women and children.

Biden has faced growing pressure from the United States to end the war, and thousands of Democrats voted “unaligned” in their state’s presidential primary to express frustration with Biden’s handling of the conflict.

Protesters also showed up at several official Biden campaign events and events, demanding that he do more to implement a lasting ceasefire and boost the supply of humanitarian aid reaching Gaza.

Six-week first phase

The first phase of the agreement would include a six-week ceasefire during which the Israeli military would withdraw from all populated areas of Gaza and civilians could return to their homes, including in the north. Hamas will release women, the elderly, the wounded and American hostages. Israel would free hundreds of Palestinian prisoners.

The remains of hostages who died will be returned to their families in phase one, “bringing some closure to this terrible sadness,” Biden said.

Biden said humanitarian aid to Gaza would boost significantly, with at least 600 trucks entering the Strip every day.

“In the event of a ceasefire, this aid could be safely and efficiently distributed to all who need it,” Biden said. “The international community would provide hundreds of thousands of temporary shelters, including housing. All this and more will begin immediately.”

Negotiations for a indefinite ceasefire

Biden said the second phase of the agreement would begin after Israel and Hamas successfully complete first-phase negotiations aimed at a indefinite ceasefire.

“Now, let me be honest: There are a lot of details to negotiate to get from phase one to phase two,” Biden said. “Israel will want to be sure that its interests are protected. “However, the proposal states that if negotiations in the first phase take more than six weeks, the ceasefire will continue as long as negotiations continue.”

Egypt, Qatar and the United States hope to continue negotiations, he said.

The second phase will involve the exchange of all remaining living hostages, including male soldiers. The Israeli army will withdraw from the Gaza Strip.

“As long as Hamas honors its commitments, the temporary ceasefire will become, in the words of the Israeli proposal, a permanent cessation of hostilities,” Biden said.

Rebuilding Gaza

The third phase would include a “Gaza reconstruction master plan” and any remains of deceased hostages not previously returned to their families would then be sent back.

Biden said his administration would work with allies “to rebuild homes, schools and hospitals in Gaza.”

“To help repair communities destroyed in the chaos of war,” he added.

Biden said that completing all three phases of the proposed ceasefire could lead to the normalization of relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia.

“Israel could be part of a regional security network to counter the threat posed by Iran,” Biden said. “All this progress would make Israel safer, and Israeli families would no longer live in the shadow of a terrorist attack. All this would create the conditions for a different future, a better future for the Palestinian people – a future of self-determination, dignity, security and freedom.”

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