Benjamin Netanyahu
Benjamin NetanyahuYonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Office on Friday evening issued a statement in response to US President Joe Biden's speech in which he outlined Israel’s three-phase proposal for a ceasefire and hostage release deal in Gaza.

“The Government of Israel is united in its desire to return the hostages as soon as possible and is working to achieve this goal. The Prime Minister authorized the negotiating team to present a proposal to that end, which would also enable Israel to continue the war until all its objectives are achieved, including the destruction of Hamas's military and governing capabilities," the statement said.

"The actual proposal put forward by Israel, including the conditional transition from one phase to the next, allows Israel to uphold these principles," it concluded.

Biden earlier revealed the three-phase plan, the first of which “would last for six weeks ... [and] would include a full and complete ceasefire, withdrawal of Israeli forces from all populated areas of Gaza, release of a number of hostages, including women, the elderly, the wounded, in exchange for the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners.”

Phase two would see the release of all remaining living hostages, including male soldiers, Israeli forces, with withdrawal from Gaza. “As long as Hamas lives up to its commitments, a temporary ceasefire would become, in the words of the Israeli proposal, a cessation of hostilities permanently," Biden added.

If negotiations on phase two take more than six weeks, the ceasefire will continue as long as talks continue, he stated.

Phase three would encompass "a major reconstruction plan for Gaza," said the President, as well as the repatriation of the remains of deceased hostages to their families.

Biden also urged both Hamas as well as elements in the Israeli government who might oppose the plan to accept it.

"At this point, Hamas no longer is capable of carrying out another October 7," the President claimed. "You can't lose this moment, indefinite war in pursuit of an unidentified notion of total victory, draining the economic, military, human and human resources and furthering Israel's isolation in the world. That will not bring hostages home, that will not bring an enduring defeat of Hamas, that will not bring Israel lasting security."

"As someone who's had a lifelong commitment to Israel, as the only American president who has ever gone to Israel at a time of war, as someone who just sent the US forces to directly defend Israel when it was attacked by Iran, I ask you to take a step back, think what will happen if this moment is lost," he said. "We can't lose this moment."

"It's time for this war to end, for the day after to begin," Biden stressed.

(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)