Israel Proposes New Temporary Gaza Ceasefire Deal with Large Concessions

According to US President Joe Biden, Israel has proposed a “comprehensive” temporary ceasefire deal in Gaza, Palestine, which most notably includes the withdrawal of Israel’s forces from Gaza for six weeks. “Israel has now offered a comprehensive new proposal. It’s a roadmap to an enduring ceasefire and the release of all hostages. This proposal has been transmitted by Qatar to Hamas,” Biden said.

The Times of Israel reported that Biden was the one who laid out the current proposal that was greenlit, and that while the Israeli government has acknowledged a proposal, it was not clarified whether it was the same in exact detail as what Biden had presented since the statement didn’t refer to Biden’s speech at all.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said after the statement by Biden, “The Israeli government is united in the desire to return our hostages as soon as possible and is working to achieve this goal. Therefore, the prime minister authorized the negotiating team to present an outline for achieving this goal while insisting that the war will not end until all of its goals are achieved, including the return of all our hostages and the elimination of Hamas’ military and governmental capabilities. The exact outline proposed by Israel, including the conditional transition from stage to stage, allows Israel to maintain these principles.”

Asked by the TOI if “the deal described by Netanyahu’s office is the same one Biden laid out in his speech, a senior administration official briefing reporters avoids answering directly. ‘I have no doubt that the deal will be characterized by Israel and will be characterized by Hamas, but we know what’s in the deal. We know what the expectations are,’ the official says. ‘Often these deals are characterized by those who might not want to see the deal,’ the official says earlier on in the briefing.”

A Large Concession

The first phase of the ceasefire would last six weeks, see the release of some hostages, and see no Israeli military action during this time.

“This new proposal has three phases: The first phase would last for six weeks. It would include a full and complete ceasefire, withdrawal of Israeli forces from all populated areas of Gaza, the release of a number of hostages including women, the elderly, the wounded in exchange for the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners,” Biden said. “Additionally, some remains of hostages who have been killed will be returned to their families, bringing some degree of closure to the terrible grief. Palestinian civilians will return to their homes and neighborhoods in all areas of Gaza, including in the north; and humanitarian assistance would surge with 600 trucks carrying aid into Gaza every single day.”

“During the six-week first phase”, Israel and Hamas would “negotiate the necessary arrangements to get to phase two, which is a permanent end to hostilities,” Biden continued. Foreign hostages including Americans would be released at this stage as well.

Phase two would see the release of all remaining living Israeli hostages, including male soldiers, with the continued withdrawal of Israel during the process.

“Finally, in phase three, a major reconstruction plan for Gaza would commence, and the final remains of hostages who’ve been killed will be returned to their families,” Biden finished. “That’s the offer that’s now on the table.”

“As long as Hamas lives up to its commitments, the temporary ceasefire would become permanent.” Biden added on, apparently quoting text from the deal.

Proposal Context

The core difference between this new proposal and previous ones, is that Israel has now offered the withdrawal of all of its troops from Gaza during this time.

The complete withdrawal of Israeli forces has been demanded continually by Hamas as a non-negotiable condition for any ceasefire deal. Previously, this has been refused by Israel, and so Israel relenting upon this aspect represents a major concession.

This concession notably comes after recent protests in Israel against Netanyahu and the Israeli government’s perceived inability to secure the release of the remaining Israeli hostages still held within Gaza. Protestors, numbering in the thousands, have demanded the resignation of Netanyahu and a permanent ceasefire paired with a prisoner swap in order to release all remaining hostages, and end the war.

While this is a massive concession towards Hamas’ demands, there remains one core demand from Hamas that makes it uncertain if Hamas will accept Israel’s new deal. That being; Hamas demands a permanent ceasefire, not a temporary one.

In all of their recent proposals, and during negotiations, Hamas has demanded the complete withdrawal of Israeli forces as well as a permanent ceasefire.

In contrast, Israel has, until now, rejected the notion of a withdrawal, while remaining insistent that any ceasefire established be temporary.

Since the beginning of the war, Israel has clearly laid out through direct statements that its ultimate goal is the “destruction of Hamas,” as well as the release of all hostages. This goal prompts their rejection of a permanent ceasefire.

Hamas has yet to release a statement on Israel’s proposal, however President Biden has urged Hamas to accept it.

Sébastien Gray
Sébastien Gray
Sébastien Gray is a published journalist and historicist with over 5 years experience in writing. His primary focus is on East and West African affairs.

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