What to know about the latest ceasefire proposal in Gaza

President Biden raised hopes last week when he approved a plan that he said could lead to a “permanent cessation of hostilities.” He said Israel has presented the plan, but neither Israel nor Hamas have said definitively whether they will accept or reject the proposal, and they appear to still be locked in disagreement on key issues.

Here's a look at what is known about the ceasefire agreement, what key points still need to be negotiated, and the obstacles still to be addressed:

In November, Israel and Hamas agreed to a ceasefire that lasted a week. But the proposal now on the table – as presented by Biden, a senior US administration official and Israeli officials – is more ambitious. Major questions remain unresolved, including whether Hamas will retain control of the Gaza Strip.

The proposal would develop in three phases.

In the first phase, among other things, Israel would withdraw from Gaza's population centers during a six-week ceasefire, and dozens of women and elderly hostages held in Gaza by Hamas and its allies would be exchanged for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in Israel. prisons.

During that period, negotiations for a permanent ceasefire would continue, and if successful, the agreement would enter phase two, with the complete withdrawal of the Israeli military from the enclave. All hostages and many other Palestinian prisoners would be released. In phase three, Hamas would return the bodies of the dead hostages and begin a three- to five-year reconstruction period, supported by the United States, European countries and international institutions.

One of the main gaps between Hamas and Israel regarding the plan is the duration of the ceasefire and the future role of Hamas. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that he is open to a six-week ceasefire, according to a person who attended a closed-door meeting held with Israeli lawmakers. But he has publicly stated that Israel will fight until Hamas' military and governance capabilities are destroyed.

As the proposal has been presented, it appears that Hamas will lead phase two and three talks with Israel, which suggests that it would retain some measure of control over Gaza. Netanyahu has repeatedly said this is a red line and has also ruled out a governing role for the Palestinian Authority, a fierce rival of Hamas that has limited governing powers in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Israel's prime minister faces conflicting pressure from the United States and other allies to end the war, and from two far-right partners in his ruling coalition who have threatened to topple his government. if Israel were to accept a deal. this would end the war without eliminating Hamas.

In a sign of that pressure, one of them, the far-right Israeli Security Minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, said on Wednesday that his party would continue to obstruct Netanyahu's coalition until he published details of the proposal. Two Israeli officials confirmed this week that the offer shared by Biden was generally in line with the most recent ceasefire proposal Israel had presented in talks brokered by Qatar and Egypt.

Hamas said it would respond “positively” to the plan, but at a news conference Tuesday Osama Hamdan, a Hamas spokesman, said Hamas had informed mediators that the group could not approve a deal that does not include a permanent cease-and-desist agreement. fire, the total withdrawal of Israeli troops and a “serious and real agreement” to exchange Palestinian prisoners for hostages.

The same day, Sami Abu Zuhri, a member of Hamas' political bureau, accused Israel of not taking a deal seriously and said the White House was pressuring Hamas despite “knowing that the problem” lies with the Israelis.

Many Gaza residents say they desperately want an end to the war, but analysts note that Hamas, an armed group, is unresponsive to the wishes of civilians in the enclave. Political experts say the group's leaders, including the most senior official in the territory, Yahya Sinwar, may be in no rush to end the conflict, partly sensing that Hamas's influence will wane once it agrees to release the hostages.

Mr. Sinwar, the alleged mastermind of the Oct. 7 attack, has yet to weigh in on the proposal, a person briefed on the negotiations said.

Adam Rasgon contributed to the reporting.

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