Explained: Israel’s three-phase Gaza ceasefire roadmap

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US President Joe Biden unveiled a three-phase Israeli proposal to end the war in Gaza on Friday, which includes a ceasefire and the release of hostages held by Hamas.

Here are the key elements of the “comprehensive” plan that the 81-year-old called a “roadmap to an enduring ceasefire.”

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Phase One

Biden said the first phase includes a “full and complete ceasefire” lasting six weeks, with Israeli forces withdrawing from “all populated areas of Gaza.”

Hamas would release “a number” of hostages captured in the October 7 attacks on Israel, including women, the elderly and the wounded. The remains of some hostages who had been killed would also be returned.

US hostages held by Hamas would also be freed, Biden said, adding that “we want them home.”

Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners would be released in exchange.

Palestinian civilians would be allowed to return to their “homes and neighborhoods” throughout Gaza, including in the north, which has been devastated by months of Israeli bombing.

Humanitarian aid would “surge” to 600 trucks a day entering Gaza, while the international community would deliver hundreds of thousands of temporary shelters and housing units.

During the initial six-week period, Israel and Hamas would “negotiate the necessary arrangements to get to phase two, which is a permanent end to hostilities.”

The ceasefire would also be extended if the negotiations continue, with mediators the United States, Egypt and Qatar working to ensure they continue, Biden said.

Phase Two

Israeli forces would completely withdraw from Gaza under the second phase of the plan, lasting around another six weeks.

Hamas would release “all remaining living hostages” including male Israeli soldiers. This has been a key sticking point for Hamas in the past.

If both sides keep to the deal it will lead to the “cessation of hostilities permanently,” Biden quoted the Israeli proposal as saying.

Phase Three

A major reconstruction and stabilization plan for Gaza would begin, backed by the US and the international community.

Homes, schools and hospitals would be rebuilt, Biden said. He would also work with regional partners to ensure it happens in a way that “does not allow Hamas to re-arm.”

The reconstruction phase would take between three and five years, a senior US official said.

The final remains of any hostages who had been killed would be returned in the third phase.

What if it goes wrong?

Biden said that if Hamas “fails to fulfill its commitments under the deal, Israel can resume military operations.”

But he added that Egypt and Qatar would work to make Hamas stick to the terms, while the United States would do the same for Israel.

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