Biden's Three-Phase Gaza Peace Plan: Ceasefire, Hostage Release, and Reconstruction

UN Security Council Considers U.S. Draft Resolution to End Gaza Conflict

by Sededin Dedovic
Biden's Three-Phase Gaza Peace Plan: Ceasefire, Hostage Release, and Reconstruction
© Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

The United States called on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) last night to support a three-phase plan announced by U.S. President Joseph Biden to end the war in Gaza, release all hostages, and send substantial aid to the devastated territory.

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield stated that the U.S. shared a draft resolution with other UNSC members to support ending the conflict that began with Hamas's surprise attack on southern Israel on October 7 last year, which resulted in the deaths of approximately 1,200 people, mostly civilians.

"Numerous leaders and governments, including those in the region, have supported this plan, and we call on the Security Council to join them in calling for the implementation of this agreement without delay and without further conditions," the ambassador said in a statement.

The draft resolution, obtained by the Associated Press (AP), welcomes the agreement announced by Biden on May 31 and calls on Hamas to "fully accept and fulfill its conditions without delay and without conditions." Hamas has already stated that it views the proposal positively.

The draft does not mention Israel's acceptance of the agreement. When Biden announced the proposed agreement, he described it as an Israeli offer that includes a sustainable ceasefire and withdrawal from Gaza if Hamas releases all the hostages.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his hardline partners in the government that the proposal announced by Biden would achieve Israel's goal of destroying Hamas, local media reported. Ultranationalists threatened to overthrow Netanyahu's government if he agreed to a deal that does not completely "eliminate" Hamas.

On Monday, Netanyahu told the parliamentary Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that Biden had offered a draft agreement but did not provide all the details, noting that there was a gap between the Israeli version of the agreement and the one presented by the American leader.

Biden announced that the first phase of the proposed agreement would last six weeks and include a "complete ceasefire," the withdrawal of Israeli forces from populated areas in Gaza, and the release of some hostages, including women, the elderly, and the wounded, in exchange for the release of thousands of Palestinian prisoners.

During this phase, American hostages would also be freed, and the remains of deceased hostages would be returned to their families. Humanitarian aid would increase, with 600 trucks entering Gaza daily.

A soldier looks at trucks heading into the Gaza Strip as they are carrying humanitarian aid during a press tour of the Erez Cros© Amir Levy / Getty Images

In the second phase, the remaining live hostages would be released, including soldiers, and Israeli forces would withdraw from Gaza.

Biden said that if Hamas fulfilled its obligations, the ceasefire would become a "permanent cessation of hostilities." In the third phase, Biden's plan calls for the reconstruction of Gaza, which is expected to take decades.

The draft resolution emphasizes the importance of Israel and Hamas adhering to the agreement once they accept it to achieve a permanent cessation of hostilities and calls on member states and the UN to support its implementation.

It also reiterates unwavering support for a two-state solution and the importance of uniting the Gaza Strip and the West Bank under Palestinian Authority governance. The U.S. ambassador stated that Security Council members, a total of 15 countries, should not miss this opportunity.

State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said that the ceasefire proposal presented by U.S. President Joseph Biden is "almost identical to the one Hamas said it would accept just a few weeks ago," adding that the "only thing preventing an immediate truce" is Hamas.

He noted that the U.S. and other intermediaries "have not yet received an official response to the proposal from the militant group." "The world should know, the Palestinian people should know, that the only thing preventing an immediate truce is Hamas," Miller said, as reported by ABC News.

He added that there are some differences between the proposals that Hamas previously said it would accept but emphasized that the U.S., Qatar, and Egypt felt that the obstacles could be easily removed.

Massive Concentration of Civilians in One-Fifth of the Territory

It is estimated that almost 1.7 million Palestinians are crammed into just one-fifth of the Gaza Strip, after more than a million people fled Rafah, according to the humanitarian organization Oxfam.

Most people who left Rafah sought refuge in nearby Al-Mawasi, Deir el-Balah, and Khan Younis, an area that totals only 69 square kilometers, Oxfam adds. "This area is designated as a humanitarian zone, but there is nothing humanitarian about the situation here," said Meera, a member of Oxfam staff now in Al-Mawasi, after being displaced seven times since October. "Conditions are unbearable; there is no access to clean water, and people are forced to rely on the sea," she said.