Senior Israeli Official Corrects Biden's Claims About a 'Cease-Fire' Agreement


If there was one quarter from which President Joe Biden didn’t need embarrassment at the moment, it’s Israel.

The Jewish state is supposed to be our ally, which doesn’t make the far left happy. Biden pretends at this, but he doesn’t pretend very well — which doesn’t make Jewish Democrats or independent moderates happy. The unresolved state of the war between Israel and Hamas after the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks makes no one happy, particularly as the conflict threatens to metastasize and destabilize the wider Middle East.

Thus, the president’s fortunes were looking up on Friday when he sprung a surprise: The White House was putting together a three-part cease-fire plan that, apparently, Israel supported.

“For the past several months, my negotiators of foreign policy, intelligence community and the like have been relentlessly focused not just on a cease-fire that would inevitably be fragile and temporary but on a durable end to the war,” Biden said in remarks at the White House.

“That’s been the focus: a durable end to this war. One that brings all the hostages home, ensures Israel’s security, creates a better ‘day after’ in Gaza without Hamas in power and sets the stage for a political settlement that provides a better future for Israelis and Palestinians alike,” he said.

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“Now, after intensive diplomacy carried out by my team and my many conversations with leaders of Israel, Qatar, and Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries, Israel has now offered — Israel has offered — a comprehensive new proposal.”

If only someone had bothered informing Israel about the tenets of the agreement.

In remarks to NBC News reported Monday evening, a senior Israeli official said Biden’s description of the proposal was “not accurate” and the U.S. president had laid out only a partial version of what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government would accept.

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“Israel has not changed its conditions to reach a permanent cease-fire,” the official said.

“That will only happen after our objectives are met including destroying Hamas’ military and governing capabilities,” the official said.

NBC News reported that the official “also said that while the White House described the plan as originating from Israel, it was actually a proposal put forward by mediators to which Israel had made amendments and changes.”

“It’s strange that they say it’s an Israeli proposal and at the same time that Israel needs to agree to it,” the official said.

Over the weekend, reports out of Israel indicated that, while Netanyahu’s government was on board with the framework of an agreement, it was less than enthusiastic about the deal.

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Ophir Falk, Netanyahu’s chief foreign policy adviser, said that it was “a deal we agreed to — it’s not a good deal, but we dearly want the hostages released, all of them.”

However, as NBC News noted, the idea of a permanent cease-fire was deemed a “nonstarter” by Netanyahu on Sunday. He also told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee that the version of the cease-fire that Biden presented was only “partial” on Monday.

“The war will be stopped for the purpose of returning hostages and then we will proceed with further discussions,” the prime minister said, according to spokesman David Mencer.

“There are other details that the U.S. president did not present to the public.”

And, as the outlet reported, “another U.S. official also pushed back Monday, telling NBC News that Biden was merely describing the Israeli proposal but acknowledging the pressure Netanyahu would face from far-right officials.”

Let’s leave aside what qualifies as “far-right” in the NBC News vernacular. (Translation: Any Israeli politician or minister duly concerned about the Jewish state’s continued security and autonomy.) This is pretty damning stuff, evidence that Biden announced a cease-fire slam-dunk that was, at best, more like an adumbration sketched out on a pencil by all sides, then filled in with details thoroughly untenable to Israel by the Biden administration.

The whole to-do could best be summed up, in short, by this X post:

Another X user noted the “sheer perfidy” of the Biden administration claiming the plan was Israel’s idea and then effectively taking it to the U.N. Security Council in order to ram what was supposedly Israel’s own plan down its throat:

And yet, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby didn’t seem to understand what the big deal was when reporters grilled him on the viability of the plan on Monday.

“The Israeli foreign minister himself acknowledged that this was the Israeli proposal,” he said.

When he was asked “what other gaps, as Netanyahu referred to them, are there between the U.S. and Israel,” Kirby responded, “I don’t know what gaps you’re referring to. I mean, I’ve heard different statements coming out of Israel.”

If that doesn’t say it all about the fantasy land in which Biden and his team continue to live — particularly when it comes to Gaza, where they’re very obviously trying to have their cake while eating it, too, and with predictable results — I don’t quite know what will.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture