US. Expects Israel to Agree to Truce Plan if Hamas Accepts It


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If Hamas agrees to the Israeli proposed truce on Gaza, the United States expects that Israel will accept the plan, said White House national security spokesperson John Kirby on Sunday.

“This was an Israeli proposal. We have every expectation that if Hamas agrees to the proposal — as was transmitted to them, an Israeli proposal — then Israel would say yes,” Kirby said in an interview on ABC News’ “This Week” program.

Peace mediators from Egypt, Qatar and the U.S. have called on both sides to agree to a cease-fire and hostage release deal outlined by U.S. President Joe Biden Friday.

Israel’s defence minister, Yoav Gallant, said on Sunday that Israel would not accept Hamas continuing to rule Gaza at any stage during the peace process and that it was examining alternatives to the Islamist group.

“While we conduct our important military actions, the defence establishment is simultaneously assessing a governing alternative to Hamas,” Gallant said in a statement.

“We will isolate areas [in Gaza], remove Hamas operatives from these areas and introduce forces that will enable an alternative government to form — an alternative that threatens Hamas,” Gallant said.

Gallant did not elaborate on possible alternatives.

Israel’s war Cabinet, of which Gallant is a member, was expected to meet later in the day, Israeli media reported, after President Biden presented a framework deal for winding down the war in Gaza.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday that “Israel’s conditions for ending the war have not changed: 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.”

Domestic divisions

Netanyahu faces a fractured right-wing coalition government and intense domestic pressure from opposing sides in his country on Israel’s plan for Gaza and Hamas.

Two right-wing members of his Cabinet, National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, threatened Saturday to bring down Netanyahu’s government if he agreed to Biden’s proposal.

Opposition leader Yair Lapid urged Netanyahu to take the deal and offered to support the prime minister if Ben Gvir and Smotrich bolted.

“I remind Netanyahu that he has our safety net for a hostage deal,” Lapid said on the X platform, the former Twitter.

The families of the hostages pressed Israel and Hamas to agree to the deal. Tens of thousands of protesters rallied again on Saturday in Tel Aviv for the return of the hostages.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog said on Sunday he had told Netanyahu, “… I will give him and the government my full support for a deal which will see the release of the hostages.”

“It is our inherent obligation to bring them home within the framework of a deal that preserves the security interests of the State of Israel,” Herzog said in an address at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Palestinian militant group Hamas, meanwhile, said it “views positively” what Biden on Friday described as the Israeli plan.

However, senior Hamas official Mahmoud Mardawi said Saturday in a Qatari television interview, “No agreement can be reached before the demand for the withdrawal of the occupation army and a cease-fire is met,” calling for an end to the war and Israel’s full troop withdrawal from Gaza.

‘Time for the war to end’

President Biden said Friday the peace deal would involve an initial six-week cease-fire with a partial Israeli military withdrawal, and the release of some hostages, while “a permanent end to hostilities” is negotiated through mediators.

“It’s time for this war to end, for the day after to begin,” he said.

Netanyahu has insisted that according to the “exact outline proposed by Israel,” the transition from one phase to the next was “conditional” and drafted to allow it to maintain its war aims.

Fierce fighting

Across Gaza, the military said Sunday it struck “30 terror targets, including military infrastructure, weapons storage facilities and armed terrorist cells that posed a threat to IDF [army] ground troops.”

In Gaza’s southern border city of Rafah, fierce fighting continues despite concerns for displaced civilians sheltering in the city.

This picture taken from Israel's southern border with the Gaza Strip shows smoke billowing in the Palestinian territory at sunset following Israeli bombardment on June 2, 2024.
This picture taken from Israel’s southern border with the Gaza Strip shows smoke billowing in the Palestinian territory at sunset following Israeli bombardment on June 2, 2024.

Before the Rafah offensive began on May 7, the United Nations said up to 1.4 million people were sheltering there. Since then, one million have fled the area, according to the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA.

Israeli Apache attack helicopters targeted areas of central Rafah Sunday; a jet fired a missile at a house in the western Tel al-Sultan district and artillery shelling targeted the southern Brazil neighborhood, witnesses said.

Palestinians mourns the death of their relatives in an Israeli strike, at the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip on June 2, 2024.
Palestinians mourns the death of their relatives in an Israeli strike, at the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip on June 2, 2024.

Elsewhere in Gaza, Israeli helicopters fired at targets in Gaza City’s Zeitun and Sabra areas, and an airstrike hit a house in the city’s east, AFP reporters said.

Three people were killed, including a woman and a child, when an airstrike hit a family apartment in Gaza City’s Daraj neighborhood, a hospital medic said.

Artillery shelling also targeted areas of Deir al-Balah and the Bureij and Nuseirat camps, witnesses said.

The Israeli seizure of the Rafah crossing has further slowed sporadic aid deliveries for Gaza’s 2.4 million people and effectively shuttered the territory’s main exit point.

Cairo hosted a meeting with Israeli and U.S. officials on Sunday to discuss reopening the Rafah crossing, according to Egypt’s Al Qahera TV. Israel seized the Rafah and Kerem Shalom crossings in early May. Both are along the Gaza-Egypt border. Kerem has been reopened, Israel says, but the U.N. says little to no humanitarian aid has gotten through. The two crossings are important ports of entry to food, fuel, medicine and other supplies.

Israel’s defence ministry body overseeing civilian affairs in the Palestinian territories, COGAT, also said that 764 Egyptian trucks had crossed into Gaza over the past week through the Kerem Shalom crossing.

Hamas launched a terror attack on October 7 on Israel, killing about 1,200 people and taking roughly 250 hostages, 121 of whom remain in Gaza, including 37 the army says are dead.

Israel’s retaliatory bombardments and ground offensive have killed at least 36,379 people in Gaza, mostly civilians, according to the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry. The health ministry does not estimate how many of the dead were combatants.

Some material was provided by The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.

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