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Sabra Express | Biden Blocked

Lazar Berman, Times of Israel, June 6th 2024



Hamas is likely to reject the latest proposal for a hostage release and ceasefire deal. The terror group reiterated its demand for ending the war, a condition that Israel rejects.


The Context:

·      Since a brief week-long truce in November, all ceasefire attempts have failed. Hamas continues to demand a permanent end to the war, while Israel is only willing to discuss temporary pauses until Hamas is defeated [1]. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refuses to accept a hostage deal that hinders Israel from eliminating Hamas, which orchestrated the October 7th attack in southern Israel, resulting in the deaths of 1,200 people and the abduction of 251 into Gaza. It is believed that 120 hostages remain in Gaza.

·      Seeking to break the impasse, President Joe Biden surprised Israel by going public with details of his latest proposal. In the first phase, Israeli forces would withdraw from parts of Gaza, Israeli hostages and hundreds of Palestinian prisoners would be exchanged and civilians would return to some areas of Gaza. The second phase would involve negotiations between Israel and Hamas for a permanent end to the war. Israel would withdraw from Gaza, and the remaining hostages would be released. The third phase would see the return of hostage bodies and the reconstruction of Gaza [2].

·      Netanyahu asserts that there are discrepancies between Biden’s proposal and Israel's position and insists that Israel will not end the war in Gaza until it can ensure there is no ongoing threat to Israel from Gaza [3]. Far-right members of Netanyahu’s government have threatened to resign if Netanyahu agrees to a cease fire, potentially triggering a new election and jeopardizing his political career. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh initially welcomed the proposal, saying he would "sincerely and positively" consider any proposal if it resulted in the removal of Israeli forces from Gaza [5]. However, Hamas reemphasized its intent to retain control of the Strip and proposed releasing very few hostages in exchange for hundreds of imprisoned terrorists.

·      This week, 16 countries, whose citizens are held hostage in Gaza, released a joint statement calling on Israel and Hamas to reach a ceasefire deal [6].


Conversation Points:

·      Why did Biden go public with his ceasefire proposal without notifying Israel first?

·      Will putting Israel and Hamas on the spot fuel progress in negotiations?

·      Should the hostages be released at all costs, even if Hamas remains standing in Gaza?

·      Will Hamas negotiate without sustained military pressure?

·      What does winning the war look like now for Israel and Hamas?



1.        Hamas Leader Demands Full End to Gaza War in Blow to Biden Plan, Algemeiner, June 5th, 2024

3.        Ibid.

4.        Hamas Leader Demands Full End to Gaza War in Blow to Biden Plan, Algemeiner, June 5th, 2024


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