Israeli officials say the war cabinet discussed a three-step proposal by Cairo to stop the fighting and resume the peace talks.
Israel‘s war cabinet met on Monday night to discuss a three-step plan put forward by Egypt for ending the war in Gaza, Israeli officials said.
The plan, which was presented by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi during his visit to Israel last week, calls for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire, followed by humanitarian and reconstruction assistance to Gaza, and then a resumption of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations based on the two-state solution.
The plan, which has also been endorsed by the US, the UN, and the Arab League, aims to end the 60-day war that has killed more than 20,000 Palestinians and 2000 Israelis, and caused widespread destruction and suffering in Gaza, as well as in Israel and the West Bank.
The war, which began on October 7 when Hamas launched a massive attack on Israel, killing more than 1400 civilians, has been the longest and deadliest in the history of the Israel-Palestine conflict, and has sparked protests and clashes in the region and around the world.
The war has also stalled and complicated the diplomatic efforts to end the violence and to resume the peace talks, which have been frozen since 2014, due to the deep divisions and mistrust between the parties, as well as the internal and external challenges and pressures they face.
No Final Decision
The Israeli officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the war cabinet, which consists of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, and other senior ministers and security officials, discussed the Egyptian plan for several hours, but did not reach a final decision.
They said that the war cabinet weighed the pros and cons of the plan, and considered the military, political, and humanitarian aspects of the situation. They said that the war cabinet also consulted with the US, the UN, and other international and regional partners, as well as with the Israeli public opinion and the media.
They said that the war cabinet was divided over the plan, with some ministers supporting it and some opposing it. They said that the main points of contention were the conditions and guarantees for the ceasefire, the role and status of Hamas in Gaza, and the prospects and parameters of the peace talks.
They said that some ministers argued that the plan was a good opportunity to end the war and to restore calm and stability in the region, and that it was in line with Israel’s strategic and security interests, as well as its moral and humanitarian obligations.
They said that these ministers also claimed that the plan was supported by the majority of the Israeli people, who are tired and traumatized by the war, and who want to see a peaceful and lasting solution to the conflict.
They said that these ministers also praised Egypt’s role and efforts in mediating the crisis, and said that Egypt was a reliable and influential partner and ally of Israel, and that it could help Israel deal with the challenges and threats it faces from Iran, Turkey, and other actors in the region.
They said that other ministers opposed the plan, and argued that it was a bad deal and a trap for Israel, and that it would reward and legitimize Hamas, and undermine and weaken Israel’s deterrence and sovereignty.
They said that these ministers also claimed that the plan was opposed by a large segment of the Israeli people, who are angry and outraged by the war, and who want to see a decisive and crushing victory over Hamas.
They said that these ministers also criticized Egypt’s role and motives in the crisis, and said that Egypt was not a trustworthy and neutral mediator, and that it had its own agenda and interests in Gaza, and that it could not guarantee the implementation and compliance of the plan.
The Israeli officials said that the war cabinet will continue to discuss the Egyptian plan in the coming days, and that it will also monitor the developments and reactions on the ground, and that it will announce its decision soon.
They said that the war cabinet will also consider other options and alternatives, such as continuing the military campaign, accepting a different proposal, or initiating a new initiative.
They said that the war cabinet’s decision will depend on several factors and variables, such as the military situation, the diplomatic pressure, the public opinion, and the regional and international context.
They said that the war cabinet’s decision will also have significant implications and consequences for the future of the war, the region, and the peace process.