Israel Accepts Biden’s Gaza Peace Framework Amid Criticism and Unresolved Details
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By The Smartencyclopedia Staff Writer with Agencies

JERUSALEM — An aide to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed on Sunday that Israel has accepted a framework deal proposed by U.S. President Joe Biden to wind down the Gaza war. However, the aide described the proposal as flawed and in need of significant refinement.

Ophir Falk, the chief foreign policy advisor to Netanyahu, acknowledged in an interview with Britain’s Sunday Times that the proposal is “a deal we agreed to — it’s not a good deal but we dearly want the hostages released, all of them.” Falk emphasized that Israel’s core conditions, including “the release of the hostages and the destruction of Hamas as a genocidal terrorist organization,” remain unchanged.

Later on Sunday, the U.S. State Department announced that Secretary of State Antony Blinken held separate phone conversations about the proposal with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Benny Gantz, a centrist minister who joined Netanyahu in an emergency coalition. In these calls, Blinken stressed the urgency for Hamas to accept the deal and commended Israel’s willingness to agree.

President Biden, whose initial unwavering support for Israel’s offensive has shifted to open criticism due to the high civilian death toll, revealed a three-phase plan aimed at ending the conflict. The first phase involves a truce and the return of some hostages held by Hamas, followed by negotiations for a long-term cessation of hostilities and the release of remaining captives.

This sequencing suggests that Hamas would continue to play a role in incremental arrangements mediated by Egypt and Qatar, potentially clashing with Israel’s goal of eliminating the Iranian-backed Islamist group. Despite multiple ceasefire proposals over the past months, each with similar frameworks, none have succeeded.

Biden’s latest plan includes the prospect of a “better ‘day after’ in Gaza without Hamas in power,” although specifics on achieving this remain unclear. Falk reiterated Netanyahu’s stance that there would be no permanent ceasefire until all Israeli objectives are met.

Netanyahu faces pressure to maintain his coalition government, with far-right partners threatening to leave if any deal appears to spare Hamas. Hamas, meanwhile, has provisionally welcomed Biden’s initiative but insists on a comprehensive agreement that meets its demands for an end to the Gaza offensive, withdrawal of Israeli forces, and unrestricted movement for Palestinians alongside reconstruction aid.

Israeli officials have dismissed these demands, viewing them as a return to the pre-October 7 status quo. The current conflict was triggered by a Hamas assault on Israeli territory, resulting in over 1,200 Israeli deaths and more than 250 hostages taken. In the subsequent Israeli offensive, over 36,000 Palestinians have been killed according to Gaza medical officials, with Israel reporting 290 troop casualties.

As both sides grapple with Biden’s proposal, the international community watches closely, hoping for an end to the violence and a path towards lasting peace.

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