Israel-Hamas War June 1, 2024 – Biden’s Peace Announcement

Yesterday evening (May 31), US President Biden presented a proposal apparently from Israel to end the war. The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office immediately rejected its own proposal as a non-starter! What’s going on? Below are the details and our comments.

What Biden said – click here. Following are the main parts:

  • Now, after intensive diplomacy carried out by my team and my many conversations with leaders of Israel, Qatar, and Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries, Israel has now offered — Israel has offered a comprehensive new proposal. It’s a roadmap to an enduring ceasefire and the release of all hostages. This proposal has been transmitted by Qatar to Hamas. Today, I want to lay out its terms for the American citizens and for the world. This new proposal has three phases — three.
  • The first phase would last for six weeks.  Here’s what it would include: a full and complete ceasefire; a withdrawal of Israeli forces from all populated areas of Gaza; a release of a number of hostages — including women, the elderly, the wounded — in exchange for the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners.  There are American hostages who would be released at this stage, and we want them home.
  • Additional, some remains of hostages who have been killed would be returned to their families, bringing some degree of closure to their terrible grief.
  • Palestinians — civilians — would return to their homes and neighborhoods in all areas of Gaza, including in the north.
  • Humanitarian assistance would surge with 600 trucks carrying aid into Gaza every single day. With a ceasefire, that aid could be safely and effectively distributed to all who need it.  Hundreds of thousands of temporary shelters, including housing units, would be delivered by the international community.
  •  All of that and more would begin immediately — immediately.
  •  During the six weeks of phase one, Israel and Hamas would negotiate the necessary arrangements to get to phase two, which is a permanent end to hostilities.
  • But the proposal says if the negotiations take longer than six weeks for phase one, the ceasefire will still continue as long as negotiations continue.
  • Then phase two: There would be an exchange for the release of all remaining living hostages, including male soldiers; Israeli forces would withdraw from Gaza; and as long as Hamas lives up to its commitments, a temporary ceasefire would become, in the words of the Israeli proposal, the cessation of hostilities permanently,” end of quote.  “Cessation of hostilities permanently.”
  • Finally, in phase three, a major reconstruction plan for for Gaza would commence.  And any final remains of hostages who have been killed would be returned to their families.
  • The United States will help forge a diplomatic resolution, one that ensures Israel’s security and allows people to safely return to their homes without fear of being attacked. 
    With a deal, a rebuilding of Gaza will begin [with] Arab nations and the international community, along with Palestinian and Israeli leaders, to get it done in a manner that does not allow Hamas to re-arm.”

Here’s the reaction from Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Office on X/Twitter:

  • The Prime Minister authorized the negotiating team to present a proposal to that end, which would also enable Israel to continue the war until all its objectives are achieved, including the destruction of Hamas’s military and governing capabilities.
  • Statement by the Prime Minister’s Office: The Government of Israel is united in its desire to return the hostages as soon as possible and is working to achieve this goal.
  • Under the proposal, 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.
  • 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.

Our comments:

  • Many political nuances here. With his re-election contest looming, Biden supports the hostages as some are Americans. But Biden mentions as an after-thought the need to ensure Israel’s security and allow Israeli evacuees to safely return to their homes without fear of being attacked. For Israelis this is the main thought. This is not a matter of left or right, it is a matter of safe not dicey. Until there is a clear route home for the Israeli hostages AND evacuees, Biden and is not home and dry.
  • Biden also mentions briefly the Gaza reconstruction needed. The issue is who will oversee it and who will hold the purse strings. Financing it should not be a problem, there is the Gaza Marine gas field waiting to be tapped.