Breakthrough: Israel Accepts Biden's Gaza Plan

World | June 3, 2024, Monday // 11:49|  views

Israel has agreed to the proposed ceasefire framework presented by US President Joe Biden to end the conflict in Gaza. Despite labeling it as "flawed" and requiring some modifications, Israel's acceptance was confirmed by Ophir Falk, the chief foreign policy adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during an interview with the Sunday Times. Meanwhile, the Syrian news channel Sham FM reported casualties and property damage after an airstrike near Aleppo, with a military source attributing the attack to Israel.

In his interview with the Sunday Times, Ophir Falk clarified that Israel's acceptance of Biden's proposal was not because they found the deal satisfactory, but rather because they aimed for the release of all hostages. Falk emphasized that several details needed refinement, stressing that Israeli conditions, including the release of hostages and the dismantling of Hamas as a "genocidal terrorist organization," remained unchanged.

The US State Department disclosed that Secretary of State Antony Blinken held discussions regarding the proposal with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Benny Gantz, a centrist minister allied with Netanyahu. Blinken emphasized to Gantz the importance of Hamas promptly accepting the deal, while also commending Israel's willingness to engage in negotiations with Galant.

Biden's ceasefire proposal garnered support from Egypt and Qatar and encompasses three stages. The initial phase, lasting six weeks, entails a comprehensive ceasefire, the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza settlements, and the release of hostages and prisoners. Humanitarian aid will be significantly increased, with Israel gradually withdrawing from Gaza as Hamas releases hostages and returns bodies of prisoners.

The primary challenge to implementing the plan lies in Israel's insistence on discussing temporary ceasefires until Hamas is neutralized. Hamas, however, insists on permanent cessation of hostilities as a condition for releasing hostages. Despite this, Biden remains optimistic about the proposal's potential to create a better future for Gaza without Hamas in power.

Falk reiterated Netanyahu's stance that there would be no permanent ceasefire until all of Israel's objectives are achieved. Netanyahu faces pressure to maintain his coalition government intact, with two far-right partners threatening to withdraw if any deal appears lenient towards Hamas.

Although Hamas tentatively welcomed Biden's initiative, senior officials emphasized the need for comprehensive agreements meeting their demands. Hamas seeks an end to the Gaza offensive, withdrawal of invading forces, freedom of movement for Palestinians, and aid for reconstruction.

In a separate development, reports emerged of an airstrike near Aleppo, with Sham FM attributing the attack to Israel. The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported casualties, indicating that all victims were members of pro-Iranian groups. However, Israeli Defense Forces have not commented on the incident, and official Syrian sources reported only several casualties.

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Tags: Israel, Gaza, Biden, Falk

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