Israel begrudgingly accepts Biden’s Gaza deal: ‘Not a good plan’

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government begrudgingly accepted President Biden’s plan for a cease-fire in Gaza on Sunday.Biden had issued the plan on Friday, and Netanyahu initially responded with dismissal. Hamas has indicated it favors the plan, though no formal agreement has been made.Ophir Falk, chief foreign policy advisor to Netanyahu described Biden’s plan in an interview with the U.K.’s Sunday Times, saying it was “a deal we agreed to — it’s not a good deal but we dearly want the hostages released, all of them.””There are a lot of details to be worked out,” he said, adding that Israel remains committed to “the release of the hostages and the destruction of Hamas as a genocidal terrorist organization.”NETANYAHU INVITED TO ADDRESS CONGRESS AS BIDEN URGES HAMAS TO TAKE ISRAEL PEACE OFFERCOMBAT IN PART OF NORTH GAZA IS OVER, ISREALI MILITARY SAYSNetanyahu’s office initially appeared to contradict Biden’s plan in a statement on Saturday, saying Israel’s conditions for ending the war – the destruction of Hamas’s military and governing capabilities, the freeing of all hostages and ensuring that Gaza no longer poses a threat to Israel – had not changed. “The notion that Israel will agree to a permanent ceasefire before these conditions are fulfilled is a non-starter,” his office wrote.Biden’s plan appears to allow for Hamas to continue to exist and play some role in Gaza, however.In a speech from the White House on Friday, Biden described his “roadmap to an enduring ceasefire and the release of all hostages,” which he said came after intensive diplomacy carried out by a U.S. team with the leaders of Israel, Qatar, Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries.COMBAT IN PART OF NORTH GAZA IS OVER, ISREALI MILITARY SAYSIn a statement also on Saturday, Hamas said that it viewed the president’s plan positively, particularly “his call for a permanent cease-fire, the withdrawal of [Israeli] forces from Gaza Strip, reconstruction and an exchange of prisoners.”In his speech, Biden said the plan consisted of three phases: the first, which would take six weeks, would see a full and complete cease-fire, a withdrawal of Israeli forces from all populated areas of Gaza and a release of a number of hostages. In exchange, Israel would release hundreds of Palestinian prisoners and allow Gaza’s civilians to return to their homes and neighborhoods in all of the Gaza Strip.Fox News’ Ruth Marks Eglash and Reuters contributed to this report
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