Netanyahu Challenges Biden's Ceasefire Proposal for Gaza

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has disputed U.S. President Joe Biden's proposed Gaza ceasefire agreement, highlighting significant differences between the two versions and sparking renewed debate on how to end the ongoing conflict

by Sededin Dedovic
Netanyahu Challenges Biden's Ceasefire Proposal for Gaza
© Amir Levy / Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated today that there is a gap between the Israeli version and the proposed ceasefire agreement for the Gaza Strip presented on Friday by U.S. President Joe Biden. "The proposal Biden presented is not complete.

The war will stop to return the hostages, and then we will hold talks. There are other details that the U.S. president did not present publicly," Netanyahu said at a meeting of the Israeli parliamentary committee on foreign policy and security.

He made these comments following a statement by an unnamed Israeli official that the conditions Biden presented for a potential hostage agreement, allegedly proposed by Israel, were inaccurate. This senior official told NBC News that Biden's presentation of the hostage agreement terms as an Israeli proposal was questionable and emphasized that Israel never agreed to fully withdraw from Gaza based on any part of the agreement.

Additionally, the official stated that what Biden presented was not Israel's proposal but originated from mediator countries and was modified by Israel. "It's strange that they say it's an Israeli proposal and at the same time say that Israel should agree," the official said, according to Israeli media.

Mediators in the Gaza war, including Qatar, the U.S., and Egypt, jointly called on Hamas and Israel on Saturday to finalize an agreement based on the principles presented by the U.S. president. On Friday, Biden presented a roadmap at the White House, which he said was proposed by Israel, aiming to achieve a permanent ceasefire in stages and under conditions, and called on Hamas to accept it and the Israeli government to support it.

Prime Minister Netanyahu then confirmed Israel's conditions for a permanent ceasefire, the destruction of Hamas, and the release of hostages. Biden did not explain in his speech how the goal of removing Hamas from power would be achieved.

Netanyahu is under significant pressure from two far-right ministers who threaten to leave the government if the fight stops before Hamas is destroyed. Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid today reiterated his promise to support Netanyahu in that case and urged him to agree to the latest hostage agreement proposal.

Yair Lapid© Amir Levy / Getty Images

He said that the Israeli government should send a delegation to Cairo today to finalize the details and bring the hostages held in Gaza home. Meanwhile, many Israelis continue to protest in the streets, demanding a hostage release agreement.

Hamas has only said it positively reviewed the roadmap announced by Biden, reiterating its demands for a permanent ceasefire and a complete Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, conditions Israel has rejected. Israeli media report that Israel proposed the agreement without the so-called security cabinet's knowledge, and Lapid said that Hamas's destruction could wait, but there was no time for the hostages as they were dying in captivity.

"There will be time to eliminate Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar and Mohammed Deif; there will be time to eliminate Hamas, but there is no time left for the hostages," Lapid said.

Protesters hold signs during a demonstration calling for a hostages deal with Hamas and against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin © Amir Levy / Getty Images

**Increasing Support for Palestinian State**

A group of United Nations experts today called on all states to recognize the Palestinian state to ensure peace in the Middle East and use all political and diplomatic resources at their disposal to achieve an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

The experts, including UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories Francesca Albanese, stated that recognizing the Palestinian state is an important acknowledgment of the Palestinian people's rights and their struggle for freedom and independence, according to the UN website.

"This is a prerequisite for lasting peace in Palestine and the entire Middle East – starting with an immediate ceasefire declaration in Gaza and no further military incursions into Rafah. A two-state solution remains the only internationally agreed path to peace and security for both Palestine and Israel and an escape from the generational cycles of violence and resentment," the statement said.

A week ago, Spain, Ireland, and Norway officially recognized the Palestinian state, which provoked sharp reactions from Israel, which is increasingly isolated internationally due to its war in the Gaza Strip, a move UN experts welcomed, according to the statement.

The three European governments said that the goal of this move was to support the two-state solution and promote peace in the Middle East. They hope their decision will encourage other EU states to follow their example. Israel has repeatedly condemned moves to recognize the Palestinian state, saying they support Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that has ruled the Gaza Strip since 2007.

UN experts said that the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor's move to seek arrest warrants for the Israeli prime minister, defense minister, and top Hamas leaders on suspicion of war crimes and crimes against humanity promises accountability and ends impunity in the occupied Palestinian territory.

As of May 28, 2024, the State of Palestine, formally declared by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) on November 15, 1988, has been recognized by the vast majority of United Nations member states.

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