Biden: Israel offers new ‘road map’ to end war in Gaza


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US President Joe Biden announced on Friday that Israel had presented a new “road map” to a permanent peace in Gaza, an initiative to which Hamas responded “positively”, while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted that “the war will not end”. The abolition of the Palestinian movement.

On the ground, the Israeli army launched a series of bloody strikes on Friday that stretched from north to south in the Gaza Strip, while intensifying pressure on Rafah, which has been conducting operations in the city’s center. Confronting Hamas Militants

In his first major address on resolving the nearly eight-month-old conflict, Biden said the new plan he announced begins with a six-week phase that would see Israeli forces withdraw from all populated areas in Gaza.

He added in a televised address from the White House, “It’s time for this war to end and the next day to begin.” “We cannot miss this moment” to seize the opportunity for peace.

He added, “Israel presented a new, comprehensive plan. “This is a blueprint for a permanent ceasefire and the release of all hostages.”

The 81-year-old Democrat called on Hamas to accept the plan, saying the Palestinian movement must “accept the deal.”

The first phase, which will last six weeks, Biden explained, will include “a complete and total ceasefire, the withdrawal of Israeli forces from all populated areas in Gaza, the release of many hostages, including women, the elderly and the wounded. , in exchange for the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners.”

He indicated that the Israeli and Palestinian sides would negotiate a permanent ceasefire during those six weeks, but that the ceasefire would continue if talks continued.

Hamas said it “views favorably” the plan announced by Biden.

The movement said in a statement, “Hamas welcomes US President Joe Biden’s speech today, which includes a permanent ceasefire, withdrawal of occupying forces from the Gaza Strip, reconstruction, and prisoner exchange. “

With negotiations to establish a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip currently stalled, Ismail Haniyeh, the head of the Hamas political bureau, said earlier Friday that “the established rules of the position of the opposition factions once again expressed their opposition to the mediators. They cannot be abandoned,” especially the observance of a permanent cease-fire and the withdrawal of the Israeli army from Gaza.

Haniyeh said, “It has become clear that the occupation is using negotiations as a cover for its continued aggression against our people and refuses to respond to our legitimate demands, so the opposition factions do not accept being part of these maneuvers.”

During phone conversations with his Saudi, Jordanian and Turkish counterparts, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken called for pressure on Hamas to accept the new Israeli road map announced by Biden on Friday.

In response to Biden’s announcement, Netanyahu confirmed Friday that the Gaza war will not end until Hamas is “destroyed.”

In a statement, Netanyahu’s office said, “The Prime Minister authorized the negotiating team to present a plan to achieve this goal, while stressing that the war will not end until all of its goals, including the return of all hostages and the elimination of Hamas, are achieved. ‘ skills.”

He added, “The specific plan presented by Israel includes a conditional transition from one stage to another, allowing Israel to adhere to these principles.”

For her part, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen welcomed the “realistic” Israeli roadmap for a cease-fire in Gaza, deeming it a “real opportunity” to end the more than seven-month-old war.

In turn, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbach welcomed the new Israeli cease-fire proposal and saw in it a “ray of hope” for ending the war.

In addition, US House of Representatives Speaker Mike Johnson announced Friday that Democratic and Republican congressional leaders have called on Netanyahu to address US lawmakers within weeks.

On the ground, witnesses reported early morning Israeli attacks near Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, by Israel and Hamas, and in Nusirat in the center of the Strip.

The Israeli military said it had found “Hamas rocket launchers, tunnel openings and weapons” in central Rafah and that it had “demolished an arms store”.

The military added that an airstrike in Rafah had managed to eliminate a Hamas militant. He also announced the killing of two of his soldiers in Gaza, bringing to 292 the number of soldiers killed since Israeli forces entered the besieged Palestinian territory on October 27.

In the central Gaza Strip, overnight attacks killed 11 people, including two children, in Deir al-Balah and Nuseirat camps, according to medical sources.

The army said it had “destroyed” militants who were moving near its forces in the area.

Despite a wave of international condemnation sparked by Sunday’s bombing of a camp for displaced people in Rafah that killed dozens, the army has continued its ground offensive since May 7. The declared goal was to eliminate the last Hamas factions.

The army said it had killed around 300 Hamas fighters since the offensive on Rafah began.

In an interview with French station LCE, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed that accusations that Israel is deliberately targeting and starving civilians are “anti-Semitic slander”.

He said, “The ratio of civilian casualties to Palestinian militant losses is the lowest we have ever seen in any urban war.”

The interview sparked protests in France.

-Humanitarian Crisis-

The ground incursion into Rafah allowed Israel to control the “Philadelphia Corridor”, a buffer zone along the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip.

“Hamas continues to use the Philadelphia axis to smuggle weapons into the Gaza Strip,” Israeli military spokesman Daniel Hagari said.

However, Egypt denied the existence of such tunnels under the border, accusing Israel of trying to justify its attack on Rafah.

Egypt and Israel share responsibility for preventing humanitarian aid from flowing through the Rafah crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, which has been closed to aid since the Israeli army captured the Palestinian territories in early May.

The Rafah crossing is vital for humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza, while the United Nations continues to warn of impending famine in the Palestinian territories. Grants for entry via the Erez crossing.

Palestinians continue to leave Rafah in large numbers, shouldering their belongings, carrying them in cars or donkey carts, in a displacement movement.

The government media office in Gaza said, “It has been 24 days since the occupation army occupied the Rafah crossing and closed the Kerem Shalom crossing, leading to humanitarian crises.”

For its part, Cyprus, the European country closest to Gaza’s coast, said humanitarian aid was continuing to be transported by sea after a US-built ship was damaged by bad weather.

– “No Offer” –

The war in the Gaza Strip began on October 7 when Hamas launched an unprecedented attack on Israeli territory that killed 1,189 people, most of them civilians, according to an Agence France-Presse count based on the latest official Israeli data.

During the attack, 252 hostages were transferred to Gaza. The military said 121 hostages were still being held in the Gaza Strip, including 37 dead, after a November ceasefire allowed the release of 100 of them.

Israel responded by threatening to “destroy” Hamas and then launched a devastating bombing campaign in the Gaza Strip, along with ground operations, which killed 36,284 people, most of them civilians, according to the Hamas Health Ministry.

The ministry said at least 60 people had been killed in the 24 hours to Friday morning, and 82,057 people had been injured in the Gaza Strip since the fighting began.

The war caused massive destruction, displaced the majority of Gaza’s population, estimated at 2.4 million people, and caused a major humanitarian disaster.

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