US President Joe Biden has confirmed that Israel is ready to move forward with a proposal offered to Hamas, devised in collaboration with the United States, Egypt, and Qatar. This proposal includes a ceasefire and a phased withdrawal of Israeli forces, with the hope of ending the ongoing attacks on Gaza.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition is reportedly in turmoil over the terms of the deal. Netanyahu rejected any agreement that does not ensure the total destruction of Hamas, describing such a deal as a “non-starter.”

US National Security Spokesperson John Kirby emphasised that the proposal is indeed Israeli, despite Netanyahu’s contradictory statements. Kirby pointed out that the proposal was coordinated with Israel and delivered to Hamas leadership in Qatar. It includes an initial six-week ceasefire contingent on ongoing second-phase negotiations, aiming to prevent a relapse into violence.

The first phase of the proposal would see Hamas releasing elderly, sick, wounded, and female hostages, while Israel would release more Palestinian captives. This would be followed by a ceasefire, with Israeli troops withdrawing from densely populated areas, allowing displaced Palestinians to return to their homes, and facilitating the entry of humanitarian aid into Gaza.

Netanyahu, informed of the proposal just hours before Biden’s announcement, has faced pressure from his right-wing government members. National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir threatened to resign if the deal does not include Hamas’ total destruction. Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich criticised the war cabinet’s proposal as unauthorised and non-binding.

President Biden believes Israel has achieved its military objectives, rendering Hamas incapable of launching another large-scale attack. However, Netanyahu and his hardline supporters argue that a more comprehensive obliteration of Hamas is necessary for lasting peace.

Since the start of its war on Gaza in October last year, Israel has killed at least 36,550 Palestinians, mostly women and children, and wounded 82,959 others.