Netanyahu aide criticizes Biden’s Gaza plan

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s aide confirmed Sunday that Israel will accept the U.S. proposal to end the war in Gaza put together by President Biden — but only sort of, Reuters reported. Ophir Falk, the chief foreign policy advisor to Netanyahu, claimed that the proposed framework is flawed and in need of work.

Biden announced Friday that Israel has proposed a three-part plan that would lead to a total cease-fire in the Gaza Strip and the release of hostages who have been held there for the last eight months. It is “time for this war to end,” he said. However, the deal is yet to be finalized. 

National Security Council spokesperson, John Kirby, emphasized Biden’s message Sunday on ABC News’ “This Week,” referring to the plan as an “Israeli proposal, one that they arrived at after intense diplomacy with our own national security team, and over at the State Department.” 

Falk told Britain’s Sunday Times that Biden’s proposal was a “deal we agreed to — it’s not a good deal but we dearly want the hostages released, all of them.” He explained that many details needed to be “worked out” and that it’s a no-deal from Israel unless all their objectives are met.

These conditions “have not changed — the release of the hostages and the destruction of Hamas as a genocidal terrorist organization.”

Of the three-phase plan outlined by Israel, phase one includes a truce and the return of hostages held by Hamas. After this, for a second phase, the sides may discuss ceasing hostilities so that the remaining live captives are let go, Biden said, according to Reuters.

Biden is not the only pressure for a ceasefire that Netanyahu has to consider. Bezalel Smotrich, the Finance Minister and leader of the Religious Zionism party, and Itamar Ben-Gvir, the National Security Minister and head of the Otzma Yehudit party, both issued statements Saturday that say they will leave the government if the destruction of Hamas demand is not met, The Israel Times reported.

Gvir took to X to call the proposal “a victory for terrorism” that would lead to “absolute defeat.” He threatened ‘to dissolve the government” if Netanyahu agreed to the proposal. 

On the other hand, Yair Lapid, an Israeli opposition leader, said that Gvir and Smotrich’s threats showed a “neglect of national security, of the hostages and of the residents of the north and the south.” 

Lapid, who had earlier pledged to support the Israeli prime minister if he accepted the deal, took to X to post “There is a deal on the table and it needs to be done. I remind Netanyahu that he has a security network from us for the hostage deal if Ben Gvir and Smotrich leave the government.” 

 

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