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Israel-Hamas War and Gaza Cease-Fire Proposal: Live Updates

The UN Security Council on Monday endorsed a US-backed ceasefire plan for the Gaza Strip, adding weight to an international effort to end the eight-month war. Neither Israel nor Hamas have publicly accepted the plan, but Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken held talks in the region on Tuesday to push for its adoption.

Here’s a look at how the ceasefire would work and some of the areas of dispute between the warring parties.

What’s in the plan?

The plan would be developed in three phases.

In the first phase, there would be a six-week ceasefire and the release of elderly or wounded hostages, or women, as well as the return of the remains of some people who died in Gaza while in captivity. In exchange, Palestinian prisoners would be released from Israeli jails.

Israeli forces would withdraw from populated areas of Gaza and more humanitarian aid would be distributed in the enclave. Civilians, most of whom have been displaced, would be free to return to their homes, including in northern Gaza, an area devastated by Israeli airstrikes and fighting.

The UN Security Council meeting on Monday.Credit…Angela Weiss/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

While all this is happening, talks on a permanent ceasefire would continue, with the goal of reaching phase two: the full withdrawal of the Israeli army, the return of all hostages and the release of more Palestinian prisoners.

In the third phase, the bodies of all remaining hostages who had died would be returned to Israel and the reconstruction of Gaza would begin.

Crucially, the ceasefire would be extended beyond the initial six weeks if an agreement on the second phase had not been reached, according to a report of the Security Council proceedings on the United Nations website. In this way, the plan could, in theory, lead to the end of hostilities.

What did the Security Council ask for?

The resolution passed by the Security Council calls on both Israel and Hamas to fully implement the terms of the plan “without delay and without conditions.” It summarizes the plan and emphasizes the provision that “if negotiations last longer than six weeks for phase one, the ceasefire will continue as long as negotiations continue.”

The council alone cannot force anyone to adopt the plan, and the United Nations is not involved in the ceasefire talks. But the passage of the resolution (14 council members approved it and one abstained) increases pressure on both sides to reach a deal and potentially strengthens Washington’s position.

Israeli military vehicles positioned in southern Israel, near the Gaza Strip, in May.Credit…Ahmad Gharabli/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

What are Israel’s concerns?

Many details of the plan remain unresolved, including the duration of the ceasefire and the future role of Hamas.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly said that Israel will fight until Hamas’s military and governance capabilities are destroyed. On Tuesday, an Israeli government official appeared to offer a cautious welcome to the proposal, saying it would allow the government to achieve its goals.

“Israel will not end the war before achieving all of its war objectives,” the official said, adding that these include eliminating Hamas and ensuring that Gaza cannot threaten Israel.

Talks about phases two and three of the plan, as outlined, would appear to involve Hamas. This implies that the armed group would maintain some control in Gaza, something that Netanyahu considers a red line. He also ruled out a governing role for the Palestinian Authority, a fierce rival of Hamas that has limited governing powers in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

The Israeli prime minister faces pressure from the United States and other allies to end the war, but two far-right partners in his governing coalition have threatened to topple his government if Israel agrees to a deal that ends the war without eliminating Hamas. .

What does Hamas say?

Many Gazans say they are desperate for an end to the war, but analysts say Hamas is not responding to the wishes of the enclave’s civilians. Political experts say the group’s leaders, including Yahya Sinwar, its top leader in Gaza, may be in no rush to end the conflict. On the one hand, they know that their influence will diminish once they agree to release the hostages.

The group’s negotiators have said they would not approve an agreement that does not provide for a permanent ceasefire, a full withdrawal of Israeli troops and a “serious and real agreement” to exchange Palestinian prisoners for hostages.

Relatives and supporters of Israeli hostages in Tel Aviv during a visit by Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken on Tuesday.Credit…Leo Correa/Associated Press

A senior Hamas official, Husam Badran, said the group had “treated positively” the new proposal despite “no clear and public stance” from the Israeli government. And he rejected Secretary of State Blinken’s statement that the responsibility for accepting the plan fell on Hamas. Netanyahu is “the only obstacle” to a deal to end the war, Badran said in a text message.

What happens next?

In the immediate term, Blinken is pressing ahead with regional talks aimed at securing consent for the plan. On Wednesday he was scheduled to travel to Qatar, which has played a key role as a mediator.

So far it appears that both sides have seen value in offering tentative support for the proposal without definitively endorsing it while accusing the other side of dragging its feet.

A ceasefire could build momentum toward ending the war, but it seems unlikely that talks to reach phase two of the plan can be resolved quickly.

Adam Rasgon and Aaron Boxerman contributed reports



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