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Obama backs Israel-Hamas cease-fire road map: 'It can save lives'

Former President Obama offered his endorsement of the Israel-Hamas cease-fire road map that President Biden announced Friday, arguing “it can save lives” and provide some security for both Israel and Palestinians in Gaza. 

Obama called it a “realistic” and “just” plan to end the Israel-Hamas war, bring hostages home and increase aid into Gaza to relieve dire conditions facing Palestinians almost eight months into the war.

“A ceasefire alone won’t ease the terrible pain of Israelis whose loved ones were butchered or abducted by Hamas, or the Palestinians whose families have been shattered by the subsequent war. It won’t resolve the longstanding conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, or answer contentious issues surrounding a two-state solution or continuing settler activity in the West Bank,” Obama said in a Friday post on social platform X.  

“But what it can do is put a stop to the ongoing bloodshed, help families reunite and allow a surge of humanitarian aid to help desperate, hungry people. It can save lives, here and now – and it can lay the foundation for what will be a long and difficult road to a future in which Israel is secure and at peace with its neighbors, and Palestinians finally have the security, freedom and self-determination that they have sought for so long.”

Biden shared an Israeli-led proposal Friday that features a three-part road map that would stop the fighting and release the remaining hostages taken by Hamas when it attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing some 1,200 people and kidnapping about 250.

The plan has been shared with Hamas through Qatar, he said. During his speech on Friday, Biden urged all Israeli leaders to back the road map, arguing that Hamas has been decimated to the point it could not repeat another Oct. 7 attack. He also called for global pressure on Hamas to accept the deal.

The proposal has three phases. The initial one constitutes a six-week cease-fire during which the Israeli military withdraws from Gaza and Hamas releases an initial round of hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners.

Phase two would involve the release of all remaining hostages and a permanent cessation of hostilities. The third phase would be the reconstruction of Gaza. 

The proposal came less than four weeks after cease-fire talks stalled between Israel and Hamas. The Friday proposal also came as the Israeli military has expanded operations in central Rafah, the city in the south of the Gaza Strip, despite caution from the Biden administration against targeting a densely populated area that housed more than a million Palestinians before the early May incursion. 

“As the tragedy in Gaza has unfolded over the past eight months, we’ve witnessed an often fierce public debate here at home — and around the world — regarding how the United States should respond,” Obama said. “But no matter where each of us stand in these broader debates, an enduring ceasefire is something we should all support — for the sake of Israelis, Palestinians and the world at large.”

Source: The Hill

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