Biden marks ‘decisive moment’ as Israel offers roadmap for Gaza cease-fire

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The Big Story 

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 for a potential end to the war between Israel and Hamas.

© Evan Vucci, Associated Press

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 roadmap 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 pleaded from the White House podium for Israelis to back the deal, arguing the military has devastated Hamas since the war began in way in which Oct. 7 cannot be repeated.


While adding he knows there are Israelis who may not agree with the negotiated deal, he warned against allowing for 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 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.”


When questioned if Biden meant that Israel has effectively won the war against Hamas, senior administration officials on a call with reporters after Biden spoke said Israel has had success in “degrading Hamas’ military capacity.” The official added that the offer wouldn’t have been possible three months ago.


Biden laid out the proposal in three phases: An initial phase would include a six-week cease-fire, 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.


According to the arrangement, each of the three phases would be about 42 days long, a senior administration official outlined.


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