Does Biden’s Gaza Peace Plan Matter? Will Hamas and Israel agree? | political news

US President Joe Biden has announced Israel’s peace plan to bring a ceasefire to Gaza.

According to journalists invited to Friday’s background briefing, the new plan is almost indistinguishable from previous plans agreed to by Hamas.

If successful, it would bring a ceasefire to a conflict that has killed more than 36,000 Palestinians, most of them women and children, and enraged communities around the world.

What does the program propose?

The project consists of three phases.

The first phase proposes a six-week ceasefire during which the Israeli army withdraws from populated areas of Gaza. The hostages, including the elderly and women, will be exchanged for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners. Citizens will return to all of Gaza, Biden said, adding that 600 trucks carrying humanitarian aid flood the enclave daily.

The second step would be a permanent end to hostilities between Hamas and Israel. “The ceasefire will continue as long as negotiations continue,” the president said.

In the third phase, a permanent cease-fire would follow, allowing 60 percent of clinics, schools, universities and religious buildings to facilitate reconstruction, including areas damaged or destroyed by Israeli forces.

Who likes it?

Hamas said on Friday it viewed the proposals “positively”, without going into further details.

Elsewhere, the project has received support from some Israeli politicians and families of captives and the international community.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s main rival, Benny Gantz, spoke favorably of the plan and asked his two colleagues in the war cabinet, Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, to discuss “next steps.”

Gantz had previously threatened to quit the cabinet by June 8 if no plan for Gaza beyond the war was agreed.

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Opposition leader Yair Lapid pledged support for the plan, pledging the support of his party, Yesh Atid (There Is a Future), if ultra-nationalist and far-right parties withdraw support.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has also endorsed the plan, as have many of Israel’s allies, including the United Kingdom and Germany.

Who doesn’t?

Much of the opposition to the peace plan has come from within the Israeli cabinet.

On Saturday, Netanyahu said any effort that did not involve “destroying” Hamas’s governance and war-making capacity was a “non-starter.”

Netanyahu’s interpretation of the situation in Gaza contrasts with that of the Biden administration.

In his announcement on Friday, Biden indicated that Hamas underestimated the presence inside the enclave, saying it would be impossible to repeat the October 7 attack.

As expected, far-right members of Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition – Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich – threatened to withdraw from the government and cause its collapse if the proposals were adopted.

Most of the results depend on parliamentary arithmetic.

Far-right and ultra-nationalist parties hold 14 seats, while Kantz’s constituency has just eight, meaning the far-right has more influence over the prime minister who wants to stay in power.

As for Lapid, his 17 seats are awarded solely in favor of peace projects.

It relies on Netanyahu in a far-right coalition.

Netanyahu’s parliamentary arithmetic may lead him to side against peace plans [File: Ronen Zvulun/Pool via Reuters]

Will it be accepted then?

It is not yet clear.

Families of captives from Israel and those detained in Gaza are pressuring the government to accept the deal, as are parts of Israel’s political class.

However, the pressures to reject the deal are very strong, and it remains to be seen whether Netanyahu will choose his own survival or return the captives.

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From Hamas’s side, it is not clear that the “positive” light in which it sees the proposal will lead to its acceptance.

Osama Hamdan, the group’s spokesman in Lebanon, says Hamas has yet to receive a written proposal from the United States.

Additional sources said they would have to wait to hear from its leadership in Gaza, including Yahya Sinwar.

They will be reluctant to express agreement before seeing if Israel is open to a deal.

Where did the proposals come from?

The origin of the scheme is unclear.

Biden was careful to frame the announcement as an Israeli initiative.

However, some in the Israeli government seem to have known about it before Friday.

It is very similar to an earlier Israeli proposal agreed to by Hamas in late April, leading some observers to say that the US is signaling to Israel that the administration is looking to end the conflict.

Is it okay if the plan doesn’t work out?

The humanitarian situation in Gaza remains dire.

More than a million people have fled Rafah as Israel continues its deadly offensive that killed 66 displaced people in two separate incidents last week.

The UN says whatever health arrangements remain are struggling to cope in the face of persistent shortages of fuel and other essential supplies and equipment.

Before this latest proposal, negotiations to end the ongoing war through most of the fighting appeared to be at a standstill.

Israeli and US negotiators will reconvene in Cairo on Sunday to discuss reopening the Rafah crossing and resolving one of the main causes of the humanitarian crisis in southern Gaza.

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