Biden Announces New Ceasefire Proposal, Urges Israel to “Step Back”

“It’s time for the suffering to stop.”

Evan Vucci/AP

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President Biden on Friday announced a new three-stage deal to end Israel’s military operations in Gaza, adding that it was “time for the suffering to stop.”

“At this point, Hamas is no longer capable of carrying out another Oct. 7,” Biden said in a televised address. “It’s time for this war to end, for the day after to begin.”

The president said that the deal was offered by Israel but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and other Israeli officials, have not yet commented on the deal. Biden urged Hamas to accept.

The exact details of the proposal are not yet known. It could include a poison pill. But the general outline previewed a three-phase process. In the first step, there would be a six-week “full and complete” ceasefire—allowing for more humanitarian aid and the release of women and children hostages. During that time, Hamas and Israel would also negotiate for a permanent end to the fighting. In the second phase, the negotiated permanent ceasefire would begin and Hamas would release all hostages. Last, there would be a rebuilding of Gaza.

The announcement comes one day after Israel’s national security adviser estimated that fighting would continue through the end of the year.

Biden on Friday appeared to express frustration with Israel’s expanding offensive in Rafah, where strikes using US-made bombs killed dozens of Palestinians in displacement camps earlier this week.

“As someone who’s had a lifelong commitment to Israel,” Biden said, “as the only American president who has ever gone to Israel at a time of war, as someone who just sent the US forces to directly defend Israel when it was attacked by Iran, I ask you to take a step back.”

An advocacy group for Israeli hostages on Thursday described a recent closed-door meeting between Netanyahu and family members in which the Israeli leader said that he would not agree to a deal to release hostages unless it polled favorably for him.

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