Monday, June 03, 2024

By Daled Amos

On Friday, President Biden announced a ceasefire plan that would end the fighting in Gaza, release all the hostages, ensure Israel's security, and create a better Gaza after the war without Hamas. 

Problems With The Proposal

There are some potential sticking points in just in Phase One alone:
The release of Hamas hostages would be "in exchange for the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners" -- that alone could break the plan since these would likely be terrorists and Hamas would insist on the release of terrorists with blood on their hands.

o  Humanitarian assistance would surge with 600 trucks carrying aid into Gaza every single day -- no mention of the need for Hamas to stop interfering with the aid, but then again Biden is not going to point fingers.

o  According to Biden, "if the negotiations take longer than six weeks for phase one, the ceasefire will still continue as long as negotiations continue." On the one hand, this effectively ties Israel's hands as long as Hamas drags out negotiations, as Biden says, "There are a number of details to negotiate to move from phase one to phase two."

The Part Biden Leaves Out

The only thing that Biden leaves out is where Hamas gets to declare victory--after all, even though Biden claims at the outset that this proposal "creates a better 'day after' in Gaza without Hamas in power," he never addresses how that works. Instead, Biden claims that continuing the war "will not bring an enduring defeat of Hamas. That will not bring Israel lasting security." 

What will?

We have to work to reform the PA in the West Bank, which is ongoing and to having an interim administration in Gaza that can help with stabilization and pathway forward th
What kind of "reform" he is talking about is anybody's guess. Is Hamas going to step aside and relinquish power? Like Hezbollah?

More likely Hamas will continue to have power in Gaza. Back in March, Hamas assassinated the head of the Doghmush clan, one of the most powerful in Gaza, to keep them from vying for power in a reconstructed Gaza.

Hamas is not going anywhere. So the best that Biden can offer in his public statement is to claim that Israel can go forward:
without any further risk to their own security because they’ve devastated Hamas forces over the past eight months. At this point, Hamas no longer is capable of carrying out another October 7th, — one of the Israelis’ main objective in this war and, quite frankly, a righteous one.
No longer "capable"? Isn't that what they once said about Al Qaeda and ISIS?
Biden cannot guarantee Israel's security with a proposal like this.

Whose Ceasefire Is It Anyway?

Can it be that Israel offered a plan that allows Hamas to likely stay in power and live to fight and kill and kidnap another day--as they have already promised?

It seems that though Biden talked about "my efforts," "my negotiators," "my team," and "my many conversations," he does admit that "Israel has offered a comprehensive new proposal."

But on Twitter, Obama supported Biden's plan:
Today, President Biden put forward a clear, realistic and just plan to establish an immediate ceasefire and end the war in Gaza - a plan that ensures Israel’s security, returns hostages taken on October 7th to their families, increases aid into Gaza and relieves the suffering of Palestinian civilians, and engages Israelis, Palestinians, Arab countries and the broader international community in the process of rebuilding Gaza...I am deeply encouraged by the steady, tireless efforts of President Biden, Secretary of State Tony Blinken and our diplomatic team to bring this awful war to an end.
Obama supports the plan and Biden's efforts. 
So it's Israel's plan and Biden gets to take a victory lap.

But maybe it's not really Israel's plan after all. CNN reports:
Israel’s four-and-a-halfpage proposal was submitted to Hamas on Thursday evening, a US senior administration official said, and matches closely a deal the group itself recently proposed. 

It’s nearly identical to Hamas’ own proposals of only a few weeks ago. So if that’s what Hamas wants, they can take the deal,” the official said.
So maybe it's both of their plans? According to Nadav Eyal of Yediot Ahronot, it's Israel's plan, but with one major change:

So it is Israel's plan, or at least one they both agree to, except that Netanyahu never agreed to indefinite negotiations.

And that is why Netanyahu "reiterated that Israel would not agree to a permanent cease-fire in Gaza as long as Hamas still retains governing and military power."

So all the pressure is on Israel to allow for a ceasefire that likely keeps Hamas in power, while the terrorists who slaughtered and kidnapped Israelis and have promised to keep doing exactly that, make no promises, no concessions, and get to claim victory as they continue to rule in Gaza.

When you put it like that, it kind of sounds like Biden's deal after all.

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