World leaders urge Israel, Hamas to agree to new cease-fire plan

Several world leaders urged Israel and Hamas to agree to a new cease-fire proposal announced by President Biden on Friday, which he said would lead to a permanent cease-fire in Gaza, the release of all hostages and the withdrawal of all Israeli troops.

French President Emmanuel Macron voiced his support for the deal, posting on X in Hebrew on Saturday: “The war in Gaza must stop. We support the proposal for a comprehensive agreement by the United States.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and British Foreign Secretary David Cameron also urged the warring parties to “seize” the opportunity to end the war. Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock wrote on social media that the proposal “provides a glimpse of hope and a possible path out of the war’s deadlock” and said it “is now up to Hamas to prove their commitment to ending the conflict.”

As outlined by Biden, the three-stage plan, proposed by Israel, would begin with a six-week cease-fire and the release of women and child hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners in Israel, accompanied by an Israeli withdrawal from populated areas of Gaza and the surging of aid trucks into the territory.


Summarized stories to quickly stay informed

Negotiations would start over the second phase for a permanent end to fighting and full Israeli withdrawal, along with the release of all remaining hostages, while phase three would focus on reconstruction and the establishment of a non-Hamas Palestinian government.

Both Israel and Hamas have signaled some openness to an agreement, even as uncertainty remains over whether a deal can be reached in practice, and in particular on achieving a permanent stop to the fighting.

On Friday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said the government was “united in its desire to return the hostages as soon as possible” and its proposal “would also enable Israel to continue the war until all its objectives are achieved, including the destruction of Hamas’s military and governing capabilities.”

But in a follow-up statement Saturday, the prime minister’s office emphasized that Israel would not “agree to a permanent ceasefire” until its goals were achieved and “Gaza no longer poses a threat to Israel,” adding that any suggestions otherwise were “a non-starter.”

The shifting tone cast some doubt on whether Israel was committed to the proposal.

“Netanyahu is trying to have his cake and eat it,” Udi Sommer, a politics professor at Tel Aviv University, said of the conflicting statements. The U.S. decision to “go public” with Israel’s proposal has ramped up pressure on Netanyahu not to renege, he said.

It also comes as the prime minister navigates deepening divisions within his own governing coalition.

On the far-right, members such as National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir have threatened to pull out of the government if a cease-fire deal is reached. Meanwhile, war cabinet member and centrist opposition leader, Benny Gantz, also said he will resign if Netanyahu doesn’t decide on a comprehensive postwar plan — including a strategy to bring the hostages home — before June 8.

“The earth is shaking under the legs of Netanyahu in terms of his coalition,” Sommer said, adding that the unusual Saturday morning statement from the prime minister’s office appeared to be addressing “coalition politics” by making assurances that Israel would push on until its aim of total victory.

Yaki Dayan, a former chief of staff in Israel’s Foreign Ministry and an expert on U.S.-Israeli relations, said Netanyahu’s statement Saturday was “not a rejection” of the cease-fire outline, but rather the prime minister’s office “saying that we haven’t abandoned the objective of this war.”

“This is fine-tuning for internal consumption,” Dayan said, adding that questions remain over parts of the plan that Biden may have skimmed over. “No doubt this is the essence of the offer, but the devil is in the details. Have we seen all the details?”

Hamas said late Friday that it viewed Biden’s speech “positively.” In a statement, the militant group said it was ready to “deal positively and constructively with any proposal based on a permanent cease-fire,” if Israel also declares its “explicit commitment” to the deal.

If agreed to, the proposal “would facilitate a surge of humanitarian assistance, allow displaced Palestinians to return to their neighborhoods, and begin the reconstruction of Gaza,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller wrote on X.

This is “a significant opportunity to move towards an end to war and civilian suffering in Gaza,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said.

Indonesia’s president-elect, Prabowo Subianto, said his country is willing to send “significant peacekeeping forces to maintain and monitor this prospective ceasefire,” Reuters news agency reported. He added that Indonesia is also ready to “to evacuate, to receive and to treat with medical care up to 1,000 patients” from Gaza.

Israeli Minister Benny Gantz criticized France’s decision to ban Israeli companies from a French arms fair next month, saying that the move “ultimately rewards terror.” According to a statement from his office Friday, Gantz urged French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal to reconsider the decision, which the event’s organizer said was taken by “government authorities.” “Conditions are no longer met to host Israeli companies at the show at a time when the President is calling for Israel to cease operations in Rafah,” France’s Defense Ministry told Reuters news agency.

Top congressional leaders announced Friday that they had invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint meeting of Congress. The invitation, signed by top Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate, expresses solidarity with Israel and mentions the “existential challenges” posed by Iran, Russia and China. “We invite you to share the Israeli government’s vision for defending democracy, combating terror, and establishing a just and lasting peace in the region,” the letter says.

After an operation lasting nearly three weeks, Israeli forces said Friday that they have “completed their mission” in the Jabalya refugee camp in northern Gaza — five months after the military declared victory in the same area. Returning residents described the camp’s “complete destruction” after the 20-day operation. The Israel Defense Forces said its troops killed “hundreds” of militants, destroyed about six miles of underground tunnels and recovered the bodies of seven hostages in the densely built-up area.

At least 36,379 people have been killed and 82,407 injured in Gaza since the war began, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, which does not distinguish between civilians and combatants but says the majority of the dead are women and children. Israel estimates that about 1,200 people were killed in Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack, including more than 300 soldiers, and says 293 soldiers have been killed since the launch of its military operation in Gaza.

Source link

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top