Netanyahu insists on Hamas ‘destruction’ to end Gaza war


Biden lays out 3-phase ceasefire plan, Hamas responds positively

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday insisted on Hamas’s destruction as part of an Israeli plan presented by US President Joe Biden to end the Gaza war.

“Israel’s conditions for ending the war have not changed: the destruction of Hamas’s military and governing capabilities, the freeing of all hostages and ensuring that Gaza no longer poses a threat to Israel,” the Israeli leader said in a statement.

“Under the proposal, Israel will continue to insist these conditions are met before a permanent ceasefire is put in place.

Israeli forces hammered Rafah in southern Gaza with tanks and artillery Saturday, hours after US President Joe Biden said Israel was offering a new roadmap towards a full ceasefire.

Earlier, US President Joe Biden on Friday laid out what he described as a three-phase Israeli proposal for a ceasefire in besieged Gaza in return for the release of Israeli captives, saying “It’s time for this war to end” and winning a positive initial reaction from Hamas resistance group.

The first phase involves a six-week ceasefire when Israeli forces would withdraw from “all populated areas” of Gaza, some hostages – including the elderly and women – would be freed in exchange for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, Palestinian civilians could return to their homes in Gaza and 600 trucks a day would bring humanitarian aid into the devastated enclave.

In this phase, the freedom fighter group and Israel would negotiate a permanent ceasefire that Biden claimed would last “as long as Hamas lives up to its commitments.”

If negotiations took more than six weeks, the temporary ceasefire would extend while they continued.

In the second phase, Biden said there would be an exchange for all remaining living hostages, including male soldiers, Israeli forces would withdraw from Gaza and the permanent ceasefire would begin.

The third phase would include a major reconstruction plan for Gaza and the return of the “final remains” of hostages to their families. Hamas, group has said it was ready to engage “positively and in a constructive manner” with any proposal based on a permanent ceasefire, withdrawal of Israeli forces, the reconstruction of Gaza, a return of those displaced, and a “genuine” prisoner swap deal if Israel “clearly announces commitment to such deal”.

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