What’s in Biden's 3-phase plan to end the war in Gaza?

A six-week ceasefire, full Israeli withdrawal and plans to reconstruct Gaza are all part of the plan.

President Joe Biden released a three-phase plan toward a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.
President Joe Biden released a three-phase plan toward a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. (Evan Vucci/AP Photo)

President Joe Biden is pressuring leaders on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to reach an agreement with a new three-phase ceasefire plan released by the White House on Friday.

Over the weekend, an aide for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the country had accepted a framework agreement for winding down its ongoing military campaign in Gaza, while insisting that the proposal put forth by Biden was “not a good deal” and that "there are a lot of details to be worked out."

The plan arrives eight months after the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks that left an estimated 1,200 dead in Israel. Since then, over 36,000 Palestinians and more than 600 Israeli soldiers have been killed in the ongoing war, while an estimated 84 people are still being held hostage in Gaza, according to multiple news outlets.

Biden’s plan calls for a ceasefire, the release of both Israeli hostages and Palestinian prisoners as well as the reconstruction of Gaza, which has seen 75% of its population displaced because of the war.

Here’s what you need to know about Biden’s three-phase plan and how Israeli and Palestinian leaders are responding to it.

The first phase calls for an immediate “full and complete ceasefire” lasting for six weeks. It will also demand the withdrawal of Israeli forces from all populated areas of Gaza as well as the release of “a number of hostages” — including women, the elderly, the wounded and several U.S. citizens — in exchange for the release of Palestinian prisoners held in Israel.

During this time, “humanitarian assistance would surge with 600 trucks carrying aid into Gaza every single day,” said Biden, who added that the ceasefire will continue even if negotiations last longer than the planned six weeks. The U.S., Egypt and Qatar will also work together to ensure “all the agreements are reached.”

The second phase calls for the Israeli military to fully withdraw from Gaza in exchange for the release of all remaining living hostages — including male soldiers. If Hamas abides by everything outlined in the plan, Biden explained, Israel said it may agree to the “cessation of hostilities permanently,” meaning that all warfare and violence will be stopped indefinitely.

The final phase of the plan is for Gaza to undergo “a major reconstruction” to rebuild its cities — including homes, schools and hospitals that were destroyed by warfare, said Biden. Arab nations and the international community would also participate in a manner that “does not allow Hamas to rearm.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Abir Sultan/Pool Photo via AP)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said on Friday that it had “authorized” the text of Biden’s proposal.

But Netanyahu stressed on Saturday that Israel would not agree to a ceasefire unless Hamas’s military and governing capabilities are totally destroyed, all hostages are freed and “Gaza no longer poses a threat to Israel.” To suggest an immediate ceasefire without those goals is a “non-starter,” Netanyahu said in a statement on X.

Netanyahu’s chief foreign policy adviser, Ophir Falk, clarified the statement with Britain’s Sunday Times, reiterating that Israel’s conditions for a ceasefire “have not changed” and that while Biden’s plan “is not a good deal,” they’re hoping for a swift solution.

Far-right leaders — Israeli’s Minister of Finance Bezalel Smotrich and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir — agree with Netanyahu that an immediate ceasefire should be contingent on the destruction of Hamas. If the prime minister moves forward with the plan, Ben-Gvir said in a post on X, Israel’s far-right Otzma Yehudit party would make plans to “dissolve the government.”

Meanwhile, Israel’s War Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz and opposition leader Yair Lapid support the plan and have urged Israeli leaders to discuss “next steps” as soon as possible, reports the Times of Israel.

Gantz had previously threatened to step down by June 8 if no plan for a ceasefire was agreed upon.

Benny Gantz, a key member of Israel's war Cabinet and the top political rival of Netanyahu.
Benny Gantz, a key member of Israel's war Cabinet and the top political rival of Netanyahu. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

On Friday, Hamas said that it viewed Biden’s plan “positively” and that its willingness to move forward with it is solely “based on a permanent ceasefire” and the “complete withdrawal” of Israeli forces from Gaza, according to the Washington Post.

The United States, Egypt and Qatar released a joint statement on Saturday supporting the plan, saying that it would bring “immediate relief both to the long-suffering people of Gaza as well as the long-suffering hostages and their families.”

Family members of the Israeli hostages held in Gaza have called on Netanyahu to publicly support Biden’s plan, reports Al Jazeera, with the Hostage and Missing Families Forum urging “citizens of Israel to take to the streets” to ensure it happens.

On a call with Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan on Friday night, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken “emphasized that Hamas should accept the deal and that every country with a relationship with Hamas should press it to do so without delay.”