Biden says Israel has offered new ceasefire proposal to Hamas

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Biden says Israel has offered new ceasefire proposal to Hamas

US president urged the Hamas terror group to accept the new 'three-phased' deal which involved the return of Israeli hostages from Gaza and reconstruction of civilian areas

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

President Biden speaks from the White House
President Biden speaks from the White House

US President Joe Biden has claimed Israel has offered a comprehensive new ceasefire deal to Hamas.

Biden urged the Hamas terror group to accept the new offer which involved the return of an undisclosed number of Israeli hostages from Gaza and reconstruction of civilian areas.

As he outlined a “three phased deal” which would begin with a six week ceasefire, it was unclear where the impetus for the move was coming from.

Speaking on Friday from the White House Biden urged leaders on both sides not to “lose this moment”.

He stressed the proposal had been put forward by Israel and had been sent to Hamas through Qatari negotiators.

But it was not clear that the deal had the backing of Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, and there was speculation Biden had been speaking to other senior figures inside the Jewish state.

Biden urged Israel’s leadership to back the proposal, arguing that Hamas is no longer capable of carrying out another attack on Israelis like the one on 7 October.

He also criticised hardliners in Israel who still argued that the war in Gaza should continue, suggesting this would not bring security to Israel.

“This new proposal has three phases: The first phase would last for six weeks,” said Biden, who added it “would include a full and complete cease-fire, withdrawal of Israeli forces from all populated areas of Gaza, release of a number of hostages, including women, the elderly, the wounded, in exchange for the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners.”

He continued:”Then phase two would be in exchange for the release of all remaining living hostages, including male soldiers, Israeli forces, with withdrawal from Gaza – and as long as Hamas lives up to its commitments, a temporary cease-fire would become, in the words of the Israeli proposal, a cessation of hostilities permanently.”

Phase three would encompass “a major reconstruction plan for Gaza,” Biden said, as well as the repatriation of the remains of deceased hostages to their families.

“The people of Israel should know they can make this offer without any further risk to their own security, because they’ve devastated Hamas over the past eight months,” he added.

The announcement came as a surprise, and also appeared to be at least partly linked to Biden’s attempt to appear presidential with the election in the States looming.

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