Biden says Israel has offered roadmap toward lasting cease-fire in Gaza



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President Biden announced the terms of an Israeli-led proposal Friday that includes a three-part roadmap toward an end to fighting and the release of all remaining hostages taken Oct. 7, giving the strongest indication yet of a potential end to the war between Israel and Hamas.

“After intensive diplomacy carried out by my team, my many conversations with leaders of Israel, Qatar and Egypt, and other Middle Eastern countries, Israel has offered a comprehensive new proposal. It’s a road map to an enduring cease-fire and the release of all hostages,” Biden said. 

He said that while the proposal has been transmitted to Hamas via Qatar, he indicated the U.S.-designated terrorist organization that runs the Gaza Strip had not yet formally accepted the plan.

“This is truly a decisive moment. Israel has made their proposal. Hamas says it wants a cease-fire. This deal is an opportunity to prove whether they really mean it. Hamas needs to take the deal,” Biden said.

Biden also pled with Israelis from the White House podium to back the deal, arguing they have devastated Hamas since the war began in October following the attack on Israel.

“The people of Israel should know, they can make this offer without any further risk to their own security because they’ve devastated Hamas … for the past eight months. At this point, Hamas no longer is capable of carrying out another Oct. 7, which is one of Israel’s main objective of this war and quite frankly a righteous one,” the president said.

While adding that he knows there are Israelis who may be agree with the negotiated deal, he warned against allowing an indefinite war.

“I know 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. They’ve made it clear they want to occupy Gaza, they want to keep fighting for years, the hostages are not a priority for them,” he said. “I urge Israel to stand behind this deal despite whatever pressure comes.”

Biden laid out the proposal in three phases. An initial phase would include a six-week ceasefire, then a withdrawal of Israeli forces from all populated areas of Gaza, and the release of all remaining hostages taken from Israel on Oct. 7. It also includes parameters for internally displaced Palestinians to return to their homes and reconstruction efforts of the devastated coastal enclave.

During the six-week break in fighting, Israel and Hamas would negotiate the necessary arrangements to get to phase two but if those negotiations lasted longer than six weeks, the cease-fire would continue while plans were hashed out, Biden said. 

“There are a number of details to negotiate to move from phase one to phase two. Israel will want to make sure its interests are protected, but the proposal says [if the] negotiations take longer than six weeks from phase one, the ceasefire will still continue as long as negotiations continue,” he said.

“As long as Hamas lives up to its commitment, a temporary ceasefire would become, in the words of the Israeli proposal, a cessation of hostilities permanently.”

The president noted that he has had a “lifelong” commitment to Israel and visited the country when the war began, in order to reaffirm his support for the country.

“I ask you to take a step back, think what will happen if this moment is lost. We can’t lose this moment,” he said. “Indefinite war in pursuit of an identified notion of total victory, will… only bog down Israel and Gaza.”



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