Netanyahu allies reject ceasefire deal, Hamas puts forward proposals
Demonstrators hold up their fists and a sign calling for a ceasefire at the COP28 U.N. Climate Summit, Dec. 3, 2023, in Dubai. | Rafiq Maqbool / AP

The United States said Wednesday that some of the proposed changes put forward by Hamas to a U.S.-backed ceasefire plan were “workable,” and some were not. This came after a massive barrage of rockets were fired into Israel by Lebanon’s Hezbollah group.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken did not spell out what the changes were. Speaking to reporters in Qatar, Blinken said the U.S. and other mediators will keep trying to “close this deal.”

Blinken is in the region to push a ceasefire proposal with global support that has not been fully embraced by Israel or Hamas. The ceasefire plan has raised hopes of ending a conflict in which Israel’s bombardment and ground offensives in Gaza have killed over 37,000 Palestinians and driven some 80% of the population of 2.3 million from their homes.

Israeli restrictions and ongoing fighting have hindered efforts to bring humanitarian aid to the isolated coastal enclave, fueling widespread hunger.

The proposal announced by Biden calls for a three-phase plan that would begin with a six-week ceasefire and the release of some Israeli captives held by Hamas in exchange for Palestinian prisoners. Israeli forces would withdraw from populated areas of Gaza, and Palestinian civilians would be allowed to return to their homes.

Phase two would provide for negotiations over “a permanent end to hostilities, in exchange for the release of all other hostages still in Gaza, and a full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza.”

Phase three would launch “a major multi-year reconstruction plan for Gaza.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s far-right coalition allies have rejected the latest proposal and have threatened to bring down his government if he ends the war leaving Hamas intact.

But Netanyahu is also under mounting pressure as thousands of Israelis, including families of the hostages, have demonstrated in favor of the U.S.-backed plan.

Meanwhile, Lebanon’s Hezbollah fired a massive barrage of rockets into northern Israel to avenge the killing of a top commander. Hezbollah has traded fire with Israel nearly every day since the eight-month-long Israeli war against Gaza began and says it will only stop if there is a truce in Gaza.

Morning Star

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Roger McKenzie
Roger McKenzie

Roger McKenzie is the International Editor of Morning Star, Britain’s daily socialist newspaper. He is the author of the book "African Uhuru: The Fight for African Freedom in the Rise of the Global South" published by Manifesto Press.