When we first heard those reports about President Biden’s Friday evening remarks, touting Israel’s supposedly new “comprehensive” peace plan offer being favorably considered by Hamas, we could hardly believe our ears.

After all, the President was quoted as saying that Israel’s proposal would “bring all the hostages home, ensure Israel’s security, create a better day after in Gaza without Hamas in power, and set the stage for a political settlement that provides a better future for Israelis and Palestinians alike.”


Was it possible that Hamas was ready to concede its own defeat and accept its own demise? A subsequent review of the text of the Biden speech brought us back to reality. In fact, while the text of the purported Israeli proposal has yet to be released, the U.S. and Israel are going at each other over disputes over the meaning of key provisions. And at all events, the Biden spin is patently counterintuitive and seems so much like pie in the sky. Israel could not have proposed what the President said it did.

According to the president, Israel proposed a three-phased deal with a first six-week phase featuring, among other things “a full and complete [temporary] ceasefire; a withdrawal of Israeli forces from all populated areas of Gaza…[and] a release of a number of hostages…in exchange for the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners.”

Also included during phase one, according to the President: “Israel and Hamas would negotiate the necessary arrangements to get to phase two, which is a permanent end to hostilities…”

In phase two, the president said “there would be an exchange for the release of all remaining living hostages… Israeli forces would withdraw from Gaza; and as long as Hamas lives up to it commitments, a temporary cease fire would become the cessation of hostilities permanently.”

And in phase three, “a major reconstruction plan for Gaza would commence…”

Sounds to us like a plan for Hamas to survive as a negotiating, enduring presence in Gaza, instead of disappearing as a terrorist group. Is this complete turnaround on its core issue – the passing of Hamas from the scene – something Israel would have acquiesced to, let alone have proposed? Would Israel ever agree to unilaterally cede military control of Gaza to Hamas, never mind offer it?

We hope that this is all not just the latest attempt of President Biden to leverage U.S. military support to accept what it would not readily do on its own. That pattern has already compromised Israel’s ability to deal with the Hamas threat to its security.

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