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Israel accepts Biden's truce plan. “We really want the hostages released, all of them.”

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Israel has accepted the framework agreement to end the war in the Gaza Strip proposed by United States President Joe Biden. “There are many details to work out,” said Ophir Falk, Benjamin Netanyahu's top foreign policy adviser.

Advisor to the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed on Sunday that Israel accepted the framework agreement to end the war in Gaza currently proposed by the president USA Joe Bidenalthough he described them as flawed and requiring much more work.

In an interview with Britain's Sunday Times, Ophir Falk, Netanyahu's top foreign policy adviser, said Biden's proposal is “the deal we agreed to – it's not a good deal, but we really want the hostages released, all of them.”

“There are many details to work out,” he said, adding that Israeli conditions, including “the release of the hostages and the destruction of Hamas as a genocidal terrorist organization,” have not changed.

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“This proposal will advance Israel's long-term security interests.”

Also on Sunday, the U.S. Department of State announced that the Secretary of State Antony Blinken held separate telephone conversations about the proposal with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Benny Gantz, a centrist minister who joined Netanyahu in the emergency coalition. In a phone call with Gantz, Blinken “emphasized that Hamas should join the agreement without delay,” the department said in a statement.

In a separate statement, the State Department said that during the call with Gallant, Blinken “praised Israel's willingness to reach an agreement” and “emphasized that this proposal would advance Israel's long-term security interests, including by enabling further integration in the region.”

Biden's three-phase plan

Biden, whose initial support for Israel's offensive has given way to open condemnation of the high number of civilian deaths in the operation, on Friday unveiled what he called a three-phase plan to end the war.

The first phase includes a ceasefire and the return of some of the hostages held by Hamas, after which the sides will negotiate an indefinite cessation of hostilities, and then a second phase will begin in which the remaining captives alive will be released, Biden said.

This sequence appears to suggest that Hamas will continue to play a role in the gradual agreements brokered by Egypt and runny nosewhich may conflict with Israel's determination to eliminate the backed by Iran Islamist group.

Over the past few months, Biden has introduced successive ceasefire proposals, each with a similar framework to the one he outlined on Friday, but all have failed. In February, he said Israel had agreed to stop fighting until Ramadan, the Muslim holy month that begins on March 10. However, no such truce took place. The main point of contention was Israel's position, which considered only a temporary break in fighting until Hamas was destroyed. Hamas, in turn, then stated that it would release the hostages only if the war ended permanently.

In his speech, Biden said his latest proposal “creates a better future” in Gaza without Hamas in power. He did not explain in detail how this would be achieved. He admitted that “there are many details to negotiate to move from phase one to phase two.”

Falk reiterated Netanyahu's position that “there will be no lasting ceasefire until all our goals are achieved.”

Netanyahu is under pressure to keep his coalition government intact. The two far-right partners have threatened to leave the government in protest against any agreement they consider beneficial to Hamas.

Hamas has tentatively accepted the terms

Hamas temporarily accepted Biden's initiative, although the group's senior official, Sami Abu Zuhri, said on Sunday that “Hamas is too big for Netanyahu and Biden to bypass it or sideline it.”

A day earlier, another Hamas official, Osama Hamdan, told Al Jazeera: “Biden's speech contained positive ideas, but we want to see them materialized in a comprehensive agreement that meets our demands.”

Hamas wants a guaranteed end to the Gaza offensive, the withdrawal of all invading forces, free movement of Palestinians and reconstruction assistance.

Israeli officials dismissed it as an effective return to the situation before October 7, when Hamas, committed to Israel's destruction, ruled Gaza. According to Israeli data, its fighters precipitated the current war by entering Israel through the border fence last October, killing 1,200 people and taking more than 240 hostages.

More than 36,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli retaliation that has devastated much of the impoverished and besieged coastal enclave, doctors in Gaza say. Israel reports that 290 of its soldiers died in the fighting.

Main photo source: HAITHAM IMAD/EPA/PAP



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