Biden announces Israel has offered a three-part proposal to end the war in Gaza

Published 2:15 pm Friday, May 31, 2024

President Joe Biden on Friday detailed a threephase deal proposed by Israel to Hamas militants that he says would lead to the release of the remaining hostages in Gaza and could end the grinding, nearly 8monthold Mideast war.

Biden added that Hamas is “no longer capable” of carrying out another largescale attack on Israel as he urged Israelis and Hamas to come to a deal to release the remaining hostages for an extended ceasefire.

The Democratic president in remarks from the White House called the proposal “a road map to an enduring ceasefire and the release of all hostages.”

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Biden said the first phase of the proposed deal would would last for six weeks and would include a “full and complete ceasefire,” a withdrawal of Israeli forces from all populated areas of Gaza and the release of a number of hostages, including women, the elderly and the wounded, in exchange for the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners.

American hostages would be released at this stage, and remains of hostages who have been killed would be returned to their families. Humanitarian assistance would surge during the first phase, with 600 trucks being allowed into Gaza each day.

The second phase would include the release of all remaining living hostages, including male soldiers, and Israeli forces would withdraw from Gaza.

“And as long as Hamas lives up to its commitments, the temporary ceasefire would become, in the words of the Israeli proposals, ‘the cessation of hostilities permanently,’” Biden said.

The third phase calls for the start of a major reconstruction of Gaza, which faces decades of rebuilding from devastation caused by the war.

But Biden acknowledged that keeping the deal on track would be difficult, saying there are a number of details to negotiate” to move from the first phase to the second.

Bidens remarks came as the Israeli military confirmed that its forces are now operating in central parts of Rafah in its expanding offensive in the southern Gaza city. Biden called it “a truly a decisive moment. He added that Hamas said it wants a ceasefire and that an Israeliphased deal is an opportunity to prove “whether they really mean it.”