Monday, June 17, 2024

Netanyahu says no permanent ceasefire in Gaza until Hamas eliminated

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claims that Hamas's destruction was part of an Israeli plan presented by US President Joe Biden to end the war on the Gaza Strip.

Netanyahu’s statement came a day after Biden said Israel had proposed a new roadmap towards a full ceasefire in Gaza in exchange for Hamas releasing Israeli captives.

“Israel’s conditions for ending the war have not changed: The destruction of Hamas military and governing capabilities, the freeing of all hostages and ensuring that Gaza no longer poses a threat to Israel,” Netanyahu stated.

“Israel will continue to insist these conditions are met before a permanent ceasefire is put in place. The notion that Israel will agree to a permanent ceasefire before these conditions are fulfilled is a non-starter.”

Biden called on Israel and Hamas to accept a three-phase deal that includes the release of captives in Gaza, the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the enclave, a permanent ceasefire and an exchange of prisoners.

The proposal Biden outlined in great detail appeared nearly identical to the one Hamas agreed to and Israel rejected in early May. The main exception appeared to be no reference to the complete lifting of Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Hamas on Friday welcomed Biden’s proposal, saying the group viewed it “positively”.

Israel’s opposition leader on Saturday urged Netanyahu to back the proposal and expressed his party’s support for the deal.

“The government of Israel cannot ignore President Biden’s consequential speech. There is a deal on the table, and it should be made,” Yair Lapid wrote on X.

“I remind Netanyahu that he has a safety net from us for a hostage-release deal if [Israeli Security Minister Itamar] Ben Gvir and [Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel] Smotrich leave the government.”

Biden stated the first phase of the proposed deal would last for six weeks and would include a “full and complete ceasefire”, a withdrawal of Israeli forces from all densely 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.

Palestinians would also be able to return to “all areas of Gaza” and 600 aid trucks would enter the enclave each day.

In the second phase, Biden said there would be an exchange for all remaining living hostages, including male soldiers, as Israeli forces withdraw from Gaza and the permanent ceasefire begins.

Biden added to move from phase one to phase two, several details needed to be worked out, but he promised that the ceasefire would continue to hold as negotiations progressed.

The third phase would include a major reconstruction plan for Gaza and the return of the “final remains” of captives to their families.

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