White House national security communications adviser John Kirby said the United States expects that if Hamas agrees to a recent three-phase proposal to end fighting in Gaza, Israel “would say yes.”

“It is an Israeli proposal, one that they arrived at after intense diplomacy with their own national security team and over at the State Department,” Kirby told “This Week” anchor George Stephanopoulos on Sunday. “Where we are right now is that proposal, an Israeli proposal, has been given to Hamas. It was done on Thursday night our time. We’re waiting for an official response from Hamas. We would note that publicly, Hamas officials came out and welcomed this proposal.”


“We have every expectation that if Hamas agrees to the proposal, as was transmitted to them an Israeli proposal, that Israel would say yes,” Kirby said.

President Joe Biden on Friday detailed a proposal to draw the war in Gaza to a close. He said the first phase would last for six weeks and include a “full and complete cease-fire, a withdrawal of Israeli forces from all populated areas of Gaza [and] release of a number of hostages.” Palestinians would also be able to return to their homes, and 600 trucks of humanitarian aid would be delivered to Gaza every day, Biden said.

The second phase would include a release of all remaining living hostages, and the temporary cease-fire would become a permanent cease-fire with Israel withdrawing all forces from Gaza “as long as Hamas lives up to its commitments,” Biden said. In phase three, there would be a major reconstruction of Gaza.


“At this point, Hamas no longer is capable of carrying out another Oct. 7, which was one of the Israelis’ main objectives in this war, and, quite frankly, a righteous one,” Biden said on Friday. Hours after his remarks on Friday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded, with his office saying in a statement: “The Israeli government is united in the desire to return our abductees as soon as possible and is working to achieve this goal.”

On Saturday, the Israel Prime Minister’s Office said the “conditions for ending the war have not changed: The destruction of Hamas military and governing capabilities, the freeing of all hostages and ensuring that Gaza no longer poses a threat to Israel. Under the proposal, Israel will continue to insist these conditions are met before a permanent cease-fire is put in place. The notion that Israel will agree to a permanent cease-fire before these conditions are fulfilled is a non-starter.”

Phase one of the proposed cease-fire “would allow for some hostages — the elderly, sick, women hostages to get out over a period of six weeks,” Kirby said Sunday.


“No fighting, more humanitarian assistance in[to Gaza], and while that’s all going on, the two sides would sit down and try to negotiate what phase two could look like and when that could begin,” he said.

When asked about Biden’s comment that Hamas is no longer capable of carrying out large-scale terror attacks, Kirby said, “We’re not saying that Hamas has no military capabilities. We’ve not said that they don’t still represent a viable threat to the Israeli people. Of course they do. But they don’t have the military capabilities to do what they did on the seventh of October.”

The “This Week” anchor then turned to the latest out of Ukraine, asking Kirby about what led to Biden reversing the decision to allow Ukrainians to strike inside Russia with American weapons.


“They asked for some limited permission to use U.S.-supplied weapons against imminent threats just across the border,” Kirby explained. “So, we’re talking about military and placements, gun positions, that kind of thing, logistic staging bases, that the Russians were using to create some sort of buffer zones so that they could continue to pound Kharkiv.

“The president looked at that, talked to the interagency team, made sure he had — understood all the ramifications of the request and then approved it. It is limited to the Kharkiv region, and it is limited with respect to the kinds of targets they can hit and how far back they can go,” he added.

Stephanopoulos then pressed Kirby on what he called “part of a pattern of the president refusing at first to provide Ukraine with certain munitions and permissions and then going along with it,” asking: “Have those delays prolonged the war and put Ukraine in a tougher position?”


“The delay that most prolonged this war and made things difficult was the delay in the Congress, George, when we had a supplemental request submitted in October of last year, and for six months Congress did nothing to get us the kinds of funding we needed to supply Ukraine,” Kirby said. “And for six months, basically, the Ukrainians got nothing from the United States, the biggest contributor of security assistance.

“In just the month or so since that supplemental was passed, I would remind you that we had submitted now five security assistance packages to Ukraine to get them the capabilities that they need,” he added.

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