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Trudeau endorses proposal outlined by Biden to wind down Israel-Hamas war

Biden said Hamas is no longer capable of carrying out another large-scale attack on Israel
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rises during Question Period, Wednesday, May 29, 2024 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is endorsing a proposal put forward by U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday that seeks to bring about the end of the Israel-Hamas war.

“Canada has been calling for an immediate ceasefire, an urgent increase in unhindered humanitarian assistance, and the release of all hostages,” Trudeau said in a post on social media platform X.

“The proposal put forward by (Biden) is an opportunity to end the suffering and return to a path to peace. All parties must seize it.”

Biden detailed a three-phase deal proposed by Israel to Hamas militants that he said from the White House could be “a road map to an enduring ceasefire and the release of all hostages.”

Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly said Canada “fully supports” the proposal.

“It must be accepted,” Joly wrote on X.

“All parties must seize this opportunity to bring an end to human suffering and build a path towards an irreversible two-state solution.”

Biden said Hamas is no longer capable of carrying out another large-scale attack on Israel akin to the Oct. 7 assault that triggered the war.

Biden said the first phase of the proposed deal would last for six weeks and would include a “full and complete ceasefire,” a withdrawal of Israeli forces from all densely populated areas of Gaza and the release of a number of hostages, including women, the elderly and the wounded, in exchange for the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners.

American hostages would be released at this stage, and remains of hostages who have been killed would be returned to their families. Humanitarian assistance would surge during the first phase, with 600 trucks being allowed into Gaza each day.

The second phase would include the release of all remaining living hostages, including male soldiers, and Israeli forces would withdraw from Gaza.

“And as long as Hamas lives up to its commitments, the temporary ceasefire would become, in the words of the Israeli proposal, ‘the cessation of hostilities permanently,’” Biden said.

The third phase calls for the start of a major reconstruction of Gaza, which faces decades of rebuilding from devastation caused by the war. The Israeli proposal was transmitted to Hamas on Thursday.

Biden’s remarks came as the Israeli military confirmed that its forces are now operating in central parts of Rafah in its expanding offensive in the southern Gaza city. Biden called it “a truly decisive moment.”

Israel has faced growing international criticism for its strategy of systematic destruction in Gaza, at a huge cost in civilian lives. Israeli bombardments and ground offensives in the besieged territory have killed more than 36,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry, which does not distinguish between combatants and civilians.

Israel launched its war in Gaza after Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack, in which militants stormed into southern Israel, killed some 1,200 people — mostly civilians — and abducted about 250. Israel says around 100 hostages are still captive in Gaza, along with the bodies of around 30 more.

— With files from The Associated Press.

The Canadian Press