May 31, 2024 | Flash Brief

Biden Announces Israeli Ceasefire Proposal to End Gaza War

May 31, 2024 | Flash Brief

Biden Announces Israeli Ceasefire Proposal to End Gaza War

Latest Developments

President Joe Biden announced a three-phase Israeli ceasefire proposal on May 31 that would entail Hamas’s release of all hostages in exchange for a permanent end of hostilities in Gaza. In a speech from the White House, Biden claimed that Hamas is “no longer capable of carrying out another October 7,” arguing that an “indefinite war in pursuit of an unidentified notion of total victory will only bog down Israel in Gaza, draining military, economic and human resources and further Israel’s isolation in the world.”

The first phase of the proposal, lasting six weeks, “would include a full and complete ceasefire, withdrawal of Israeli forces from all populated areas of Gaza, the release of a number of hostages including women, the elderly, the wounded in exchange for the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners.” During this time, Israel and Hamas would “negotiate the necessary arrangements to get to phase two, which is a permanent end to hostilities.” Phase two would also entail the release of all remaining living hostages. In phase three, “a major reconstruction plan for Gaza would commence,” and Hamas would return the remains of any dead hostages to Israel.

Biden said the deal would generate the possibility for more progress, including calm along the northern Israeli border, the return of residents of northern Israel to their homes, a peace deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia, and “self-determination” for the Palestinian people.

Expert Analysis

“The new Israeli proposal reflects the Jewish state’s extraordinary efforts to secure the release of its hostages, even at the cost of leaving Hamas intact. Yet Biden’s claim that Hamas no longer has the ability to inflict another October 7 strains credulity. Four Hamas battalions, consisting of thousands of fighters, remain in Gaza, and will live to fight another day under the proposal. A permanent ceasefire that fails to fully destroy Hamas means that the terrorist group could rebuild, laying the groundwork for another war. Israel is doing what it must to gain the release of hostages, but no one should have any illusions that this ceasefire will end the conflict between Israel and Hamas and, more broadly, between Israel and the Islamic Republic in Iran.” — Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“The president’s fundamental failing is treating Hamas and Hezbollah as legitimate political actors instead of the brutal Iran-backed terrorist organizations that they are. The plan Biden outlined would regenerate the threat from Hamas and maintain the even greater threat posed by Hezbollah — sending Israel right back to October 6 and existential vulnerability.” — Richard Goldberg, FDD Senior Advisor

War Against Hamas To Continue All Year, Senior Israeli Official Says,” FDD Flash Brief

Hamas Must Strike Deal Within Week or Rafah Ground Offensive Will Begin, Israel Signals,” FDD Flash Brief

Hamas Rejects Another Ceasefire Offer,” FDD Flash Brief

Issues:

Hezbollah Iran Iran Global Threat Network Iran-backed Terrorism Israel Israel at War Palestinian Politics