“The “road map” put forward by US President Joe Biden on Friday, May 31, 2024, in his speech to reach a ceasefire, and the exchange of prisoners in the Gaza Strip. 

The proposal includes three phases. The first extends for six weeks of complete ceasefire during which Hamas would release remaining female and child captives in Gaza in exchange for Israel releasing Palestinian detainees. Israeli forces would withdraw from urban areas in the Strip and displaced Palestinians would be allowed to return to all areas, including the north of the strip. During this period, 600 daily aid trucks would enter Gaza.

Phase one, as outlined by Mr. Biden, would see the release of dozens of hostages, both living and dead. That would be widely welcomed in a country where the failure to free all those held by Hamas is, for many, a glaring moral stain on his management of the war.

But Hamas is unlikely to give up its most politically sensitive hostages – women, wounded, elderly – without some kind of guarantee that Israel won’t simply restart the war once they’re home.

During the second phase, Israel and Hamas would negotiate a permanent ceasefire while releasing Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the remaining Israeli captives. The ceasefire would continue if negotiations continue. This phase would include the beginning of the reconstruction operations in the Gaza Strip.

The initial reactions by media and political pundits in Washington, DC  described the “ road map” as “rugged” and full of bumps, and that is why it is difficult to apply, and the same end that the “Oslo” agreements ended in one way or another, that is, to engage in absurd Palestinian/ Israeli negotiations open-ended. Most reactions came as a reminder of years-long negotiations, which lasted for over 30 years without any results for the Palestinians to implement the first terms but gave the opposite results to achieve the Israeli strategic goal, that is, to prevent the establishment of an independent state. 

“Biden’s road map, is not at all different from the road map of the International Quartet, which was composed of four parties: America, Russia, Europe, and the United Nations, and the Palestinians at the time promised an independent state if they threw arms, and stopped their armed intifada, which was ignited after it became clear that the leadership of the PLO after the Camp David negotiations in 2000, that it was a trap, and that America and Israel agree to prevent the establishment of any independent Palestinian state.”

Simply put, Biden is making public the fact that there is a mutually agreeable ceasefire/hostage deal offer on the table to turn up the pressure on both parties to accept it, rather than come up with new sticking points or demands to satisfy hardline constituencies.

A breakthrough in the long-stalled talks is possible. But #disagreements on the details will likely remain hard to overcome, as they have been, because they reflect wide gaps between Israel’s and Hamas’s war aims and politicalinterests, For the leaders of both Hamas and Israel, ending the war in Gaza has become a deadly game of survival.

The terms on which the war finally ends could largely determine their political future and their grip on power. For Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, even his physical survival.

It’s partly why previous negotiations have failed. It’s also why the question of how to permanently end the fighting has been put off to the last stages of the plan outlined by US President Joe Biden on Friday.

Israeli officials are concerned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s public insistence he will continue the war until Hamas is defeated could sabotage the “constructive ambiguity” used in Israel’s latest ceasefire plan. The plan’s ambiguous language could allow both sides to enter the first phase of the deal, which includes some hostage releases and a 42-day ceasefire while leaving for later the question of whether the agreement will lead to the end of the war. Barak Ravid reports for Axios.

Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has strong domestic reasons for wanting to take this deal step by step.

Leaks, quoted by Israeli media on Monday morning, suggested that Benjamin Netanyahu has told parliamentary colleagues that Israel would be able to keep its options open.

That option, to resume fighting – until Hamas is “eliminated” – is, some believe, the least Mr Netanyahu’s far-right coalition partners will demand.

Without their support, he faces the prospect of early elections and the continuation of a corruption trial. Israeli foreign policies are mostly influenced by internal politics as Kissinger quipped Israel has no foreign policy; just domestic politics.    That is Mr Netanyahu needs to keep his long-term options open, to stand a chance of winning their support and the support of tens of thousands of Israelis displaced after the Hamas attacks on 7 October are watching their prime minister’s next move.

Among them is Yarin Sultan, a 31-year-old mother of three who ran from her home in Sderot on Gaza’s border the morning after the Hamas attacks. She says she won’t go home until Yahya Sinwar and Mohammed Deif are no longer free.

“This ceasefire will kill us,” she told the BBC. “We will free the hostages, but a few years from now you will be the next hostages, you will be the next people who get murdered, the women that are raped – all this will happen again.”

Hamas leaders, on the other hand, are likely to want permanent ceasefire guarantees upfront.

Previous deals have collapsed into this chasm. Bridging it now will depend on how much room for maneuver Mr Netanyahu has with his hard-right government allies to find alternatives to the “elimination” of Hamas – and how far Hamas leaders are prepared to consider them.

Mr. Netanyahu talked over the weekend about the destruction of Hamas’s “military and governing capabilities” and ensuring that the group no longer posed a threat to Israel.

However, Yanir Cozin, diplomatic correspondent with Israel’s military radio station, GLZ, believes that Mr Netanyahu won’t end the war until he can frame it as a success.

“A deal that leaves Hamas is a big failure,” he said. “Eight months on, when you haven’t achieved any of the war goals – not finishing Hamas, bringing all the hostages back, or securing the borders – then he doesn’t want to end the war. But he also understands that he cannot leave it until the next Israeli election in 2026.”

President Biden’s description of Israel’s latest ceasefire proposal was “not accurate,” a senior Israeli official told NBC News. The official disputed that Israel had agreed to the full withdrawal of its forces from Gaza as part of a hostage release deal, and said that while the White House described the plan as originating from Israel, it was a proposal put forward by mediators which Israel had amended. Raf Sanchez, Yuliya Talmazan, and Monica Alba report for NBC News.

That transition between talks on a limited hostage-for-prisoner deal to discussions about a permanent ceasefire would, Mr.Biden acknowledged, be “difficult”.

But it’s also where the success or failure of this latest deal is likely to hinge.

The US says it has submitted a draft resolution to the UN Security Council supporting the ceasefire plan outlined by President Biden. The three-phase plan involves an end to the conflict, the release of the hostages, and the reconstruction of the Palestinian territory.

Biden spoke with Qatar’s Emir yesterday and urged him to secure Hamas’s acceptance of the latest Israeli ceasefire proposal. Biden “confirmed Israel’s readiness to move forward with the terms that have now been offered to Hamas” and “urged [Emir] Tamim to use all appropriate measures to secure Hamas’ acceptance of the deal,” according to a White House readout of the call. 

President Biden, seems adamant to force his 

‘road map” on both Netanyahu government and Hamas by urging the U.N. Security Council to support the ceasefire planto get a binding resolution based on it with the threat of Chapter VII to any party that refuses to carry it out. 

. U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said the United States circulated a draft resolution to the 14 other council members to back the proposal and called on the Security Council to implement the deal “without delay and further conditions.” 

Biden’s “road map” seems to have the support of the international community before any UNSC discussion. The foreign ministers of the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, and Egypt released a statement yesterday affirming support for Israel’s latest ceasefire plan advanced by Biden, and the leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) also released a joint statement yesterday endorsing Israel’s latest ceasefire plan advanced by Biden.

Meanwhile, the White House said Mr Biden had “confirmed Israel’s readiness to move forward with the terms that have now been offered to Hamas” and said the Palestinian group was now the only obstacle to a deal.

“Biden is at the mercy of a Prime Minister who’s likely going to walk away from a proposal he “kind of” accepted. The issue is less agreement on language in a text than whether the Israeli government and Hamas’s core objectives can be reconciled. That can’t be done now. It’s possible to imagine a phase one implementation. But phase two — war termination – is another matter.” Aaron Miller

“As tension mounts in Israel with BenGvirItamar’s ultimatum against what is supposed to be Israel’s proposal, the key question is: Will Sinwar “save” Netanyahu from the choice of endorsing the deal and losing his coalition or rejecting-the-deal-and-losing-his-ally?”

“It sounds kind of like a worthless handshake deal…Israel can sign but doesn’t have to adhere to it if they don’t want to. And they are bad-faith actors. Is the US going to stop funding the Israeli slaughter if they break this deal?”

The end of the genocide war in Gaza is the order of the hour. Stopping the mass killing, the hostage-prisoner deal, and the beginning of a rehabilitation process for Gaza, building a future of peace while promoting a two-state solution, side by side. This is the only way we can avoid the continuation of the cycle of bloodshed. This war has destroyed the world of millions of people, Palestinians and Israelis, it must stop. Any leader who cares about his public should take the opportunity to let both nations out of the cycle of war. We all need it like air to breathe.

Biden seems to finally realize two facts; the goal of “destroying Hamas” is unachievable — but only after tens of thousands were killed, much of Gaza destroyed, and the “day after” looks to be dark, even if better than today, and how unpunished Israel allows ultra-Zionist extremist took control over Israel society and future.  

“While the President finally hears the demands of a majority of Americans, the proposed plan for a ceasefire may not bring an end to the genocide and will allow Israel to continue its genocide in Gaza. And as he finally concludes, like most of us, there is every reason to conclude that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is prolonging the war in Gaza for his political survival, he can take immediate action to stop the killing of Palestinians. These items do not require negotiation, they require the will of a President who wants to see peace and an end to the genocide.

As described in the NYTimes, the world community has no doubts that Israel is “now persuaded that Israel is engaged in genocide against Palestinians in Gaza. What has changed …. is its sustained policy of obstructing the movement of humanitarian assistance into the territory.” The New York Reviews, Is Israel Committing Genocide

The NYTimes described the Israeli’s long history of crime without punishment, which many of those officials now say, threatens not only Palestinians living in the occupied territories but also the State of Israel itself.” 

Biden can immediately avoid a chaotic and unsettled political system in Israel and the whole Middle East by doing the following, he can do that by applying punishing Israel for each crime committed against not only Palestinians, but against its innocent citizens. 

That can be easily done by;

– Stop all weapon sales and transfers to Israel immediately.

– Take immediate steps to ensure abundant delivery of aid into Gaza.

– Force Israel to retreat from Rafah and other populated areas.”

By doing that, The President of the United States would pave the way for the “Day After” and the commencement of a peaceful and just solution of a two- democratic state for two people.

In 1947, the Arab states and Palestinians argued for a unitary democratic state in Palestine with a constitution and legislative assembly and full equality for all citizens irrespective of religious affiliation.  The Zionist Jewish Agency wanted, instead, a Jewish state and unfettered Jewish colonization/immigration to allow for the creation of a Jewish majority in Palestine despite the wishes of the then-existing Arab non-Jewish majority.  Which strikes you as more democratic. Ussama Makdisi

Palestine as a territorial entity has experienced a curious history. Until World War I, Palestine was part of the sprawling Ottoman Empire. After the war, Palestine came under the administration of Great Britain by an arrangement with the League of Nations. In 1948 Israel established itself in part of Palestine’s territory, and Egypt and Jordan assumed administration of the remainder. By 1967 Israel took control of the sectors administered by Egypt and Jordan and by 1988 Palestine reasserted itself as a state. Recent years saw the international community acknowledging Palestinian statehood as it promotes the goal of two independent states, Israel and Palestine, co-existing peacefully.

The day after without Hanas or Netanyahu is the reason both, in essence, are suspicious about Biden’s “road map”. Abdellatif Rayan