Fragile hopes

June 9, 2024

The latest proposal to end Gaza war has come from the Biden administration

Fragile hopes


ince October 2023, Israeli soldiers have killed more than 37,000 civilians, including 14,000 children. Houses, roads, sanitation and cellular phone networks, hospital and medic structures, schools and universities as well as mosques and community centres have been ruthlessly erased over the past seven months. In addition, hundreds and thousands of war-ravaged, disease-and-hunger stricken Palestinians have been forced to seek refuge in the so-called UN refugee camps where they have been systematically targeted by the Israeli military.

However, rather than succumbing to Israeli aggression, the Palestinians still prefer to live on their land amid debilitated buildings. The Israeli forces have failed in most of their objectives, especially in recovering the hostages.

Having watched the most disturbing images of babies being brutally killed by the IDF on their television screens and social media outlets, the conscientious people of the world have stood up irrespective of color, creed, gender, race and language and raised their voices in favour of a ceasefire and an end to the genocidal war. The global youth, particulalry from the US and Europe, are playing a leading role in terms of protest demonstrations and boycott of political events, .i.e. presidential campaign, as well as academic ceremonies of top universities such as Harvard for their institutional support for the Israeli government, which is bent upon annihilating an entire generation of beleaguered Palestinians. Importantly, some Western countries such Norway have mustered courage to recognise the Palestinian state. The formal recognition of the state by European nations is likely to progress in the foreseeable future.

As far as durable peace in Gaza and rest of Palestinian territories is concerned, besides the said European states, some Muslim countries such as Qatar have, in the recent months, made peace proposals not only to the Netanyahu-led war cabinet of Israel but also the Hamas leadership. However, all efforts for peace have proved futile so far due to the mindset of the Israeli war cabinet, which is ideologically ultra conservative and politically fascist. Thr three-member body has even ignored the political and societal divide within Israel where certain pro-peace groups have agitated in favour of the starving Gazans.

Fragile hopes

The latest proposal to end the war and make peace between Israel and Palestine has come up from the Biden administration which shared details of the plan last week. Biden has said the proposal originated from Israel itself. However, the Israeli government has been tight-lipped about this so far. According to the proposal, in the first phase, Israel and Hamas agree to a ceasefire for at least six-weeks. During this period, the Israeli forces will withdraw from the populated areas of Gaza and some Israeli captives will exchanged for some Palestinian prisoners. Civilians will have unrestricted movement throughout Gaza, including its northern region. 600 trucks loaded with humanitarian aid will enter the enclave every day. In the second phase, Hamas and Israel will engage in negotiations to establish permanent terms for ending hostilities. President Biden has said that the ceasefire would remain in place “as long as negotiations continue.” The third phase involves implementing the permanent ceasefire, facilitating the reconstruction of the enclave and an end to the conflict.

The US contends that Hamas has been significantly weakened and is no longer capable of launching attacks on Israel. The Biden team appears desperate to make Israel and Hamas agree to a peace plan.

Although Biden presented the proposal as an Israeli initiative, Israel’s leadership has not responded definitively. The coalition government seems deeply divided over the terms. Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, representing the far-right within the war cabinet, have dismissed the proposal outright. Netanyahu himself has been trying to distance himself from the initiative, despite the US repeatedly saying that the plan originated from Israel. On last Saturday, Netanyahu stated that a permanent ceasefire with Hamas was unacceptable. “Israel’s terms for ending the conflict remain unchanged: dismantling Hamas’s military and governance capabilities; releasing all captives; and ensuring Gaza no longer poses a threat to Israel,” said Netanyahu. This sounded at odds with the peace proposal Biden has shared publicly.

Netanyahu and the right-wing factions seem particularly concerned about the second phase of the plan, which involves negotiating with Hamas. Israel has called it a terrorist organisation not worthy of shaking hands with. The Biden-led US has contended that Hamas has been significantly weakened and is no longer capable of launching an attack on Israel. The Biden team appears desperate to make Israeli and Hamas agree to a peace plan. Biden has been criticised by the liberal and progressive sections of the American electorate for his unconditional (military) support to the Israeli war cabinet. The American youth in particular are turning anti-Biden. If the trend persists, he may face defeat in November.

Netanyahu, too, faces domestic challenges. Corruption cases are likely to be re-opened against the warmonger prime minster who prolonged war in Gaza to avoid legal proceedings against him. The political opposition is calling for fresh elections. If Netanyahu accepts the peace deal, he may lose the next elections.

Fragile hopes

Perhaps sensing Biden’s predicament, a crucial war cabinet member and potential successor to Netanyahu, Benny Gantz, has voiced his support for the proposal. Ultra-orthodox politicians from the Shas and United Torah Judaism parties, both coalition members, have also supported the deal. The acceptance and execution of the three-tier peace plan depends on the political will of the Biden administration. It is a Catch-22 situation for the US president. If he is able to get the peace plan implemented in the coming weeks, his ratings may improve; in case he fails to make peace between Palestine and Israel, his chances to win against a belligerent Trump will suffer a setback.

The writer has a PhD in political science from Heidelberg University and a post-doc from UC Berkeley. He is a DAAD, FDDI and Fulbright fellow and an associate professor. He can be reached at

Fragile hopes