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Hey, its michael. Before we start today, we wanted to invite you to something really special. The legendary Tribeca festival is starting, a brand new annual gala to celebrate excellence in audio. And for this, the inaugural year, theyve chosen to celebrate the daily. We know that you, our incredible audience, are all over the world, but wed like you to join us. The gala is in new York on June 9 at 05:00 p.m. you can get all the details and buy thedaily thats thedaily. Im going to be there. So is sabrina, along with a bunch of us from the show. Mo raqqa is going to host it. So if youre in the area or visiting, wed love to see you there. Okay. On with Todays show from the New York Times.


I'm Sabrina Tavernisi, and this is the daily. In an unexpected speech last week, President Biden revealed the details of a secret proposal intended to end the war in Gaza. Most surprising was where that proposal had come from. Today, my colleague Isabel Kirchner explains Biden's gambit and the difficult choice it presents for Israel's leader, Benjamin Netanyahu. It's Wednesday, June 5. Isabel, tell us about this speech from President Biden last Friday at the White House.


So last Friday, President Biden made a speech, and it came at a pivotal moment in the war, because for weeks beforehand, the whole world had been focused on Israel's long delayed invasion of the city of Rafah, the southernmost city in the Gaza Strip and also the city that about a million displaced Palestinians had fled to to find refuge from fighting in other areas of the Gaza Strip. So understandably, there was huge concern internationally and particularly a lot of pressure coming from the White House for Israel not to go into Rafa. It was just considered way too risky. But for the Israelis, you know, they were saying the last battalions of Hamas are there, many hostages are there. And without taking control of that area, the Israelis felt they wouldn't have accomplished anything. So in the end, they did begin to move into the eastern part of Rafah. But then, as the Israelis were operating in eastern Rafah with their tanks and ground troops, the Israelis on May 26 carried out a strike, an airstrike. This was an attack meant to target two Hamas operatives, and they did, in fact, strike those two operatives and kill them with what they said were the smallest missiles that their jets could carry.


Unfortunately, that strike then set off an absolutely devastating fire because the area the strike took place in is right by a camp of makeshift shacks and tents where hundreds or thousands of Palestinians were sheltering. This fire ripped through the tents and ended up killing 45 civilians, according to the gazan health authorities. And it was exactly the kind of disaster that everybody had feared if Israel were to operate in this crowded, southern, dusty border town.


Which presumably put a lot more pressure on the Biden White House to do something about this war.


Thats right. Now we know that the White House, the Biden administration, would very much like to see this war come to an end as soon as possible. And then on Friday.


Good afternoon.


Before I begin my remarks, President Biden gives a speech, and surprisingly now to another issue. This speech, when it turned to the Israel Hamas war, was not about Rafa. In fact, it was something totally different and much bigger.


Israel has now offered, Israel has offered a comprehensive new proposal. It's a roadmap to an honduran ceasefire and the release of all hostages, what.


President Biden described as the outline of an israeli proposal for a ceasefire, truce and hostage release deal with Hamas that would end the war.


This proposal has been transmitted by Qatar to Hamas today. I want to lay out his terms for american citizens and for the world.


And, Isabel, what did he mean exactly by the israeli proposal?


Well, there's been a lot of smoke and mirrors around this whole process of talks and negotiations between Israel and Hamas. And in fact, the last time we saw a negotiation actually result in a temporary ceasefire and a partial hostage release was at the end of last November. But in fact, there had been this on again, off again attempt at getting negotiations back on track over the last few weeks. And it soon came to light that this was the latest israeli proposal that was apparently presented. And this proposal, it turns out, was unanimously approved as a basis for the negotiation by Israel's war cabinet.


And here's an american president spelling out this previously undisclosed israeli position on television.


Absolutely. And the israeli public knew nothing about this.


So what does Biden actually say? What does he say is in this proposal?


Okay, well, what he says, this new.


Proposal has three phases.


Three, he presents it as a deal in three phases, which is generally in line with all the previous plans of the last few months. And the first phase would involve a six week temporary ceasefire during which a certain number of hostages, including women, the elderly, the wounded, the most vulnerable ones.


There are american hostages who would be released at this stage and we want.


Them home, would be exchanged for hundreds of palestinian prisoners in israeli jails. And israeli forces would be withdrawing from population centers within the Gaza Strip with.


600 trucks carrying aid into Gaza every single day.


Humanitarian aid would be flowing at a much greater level and generally the beginning of a change in atmosphere and climate.


So this seems in some ways like the temporary ceasefire in November. Right? Women and children, vulnerable hostages, a cease in hostilities for six weeks. What about phase two?


Well, here we get to the crucial part, because during phase one, the sides are supposed to start negotiating phase two.


Now, I'll be straight with you. There are a number of details to negotiate, to move from phase one to phase two.


And phase two is supposed to culminate in all remaining living hostages released and exchanged again for many more palestinian prisoners from israeli jails. This would involve also the withdrawal of israeli troops from the Gaza Strip. And in his speech, President Biden does say that as long as Hamas lives up to its commitments, the temporary ceasefire would become, in the words of the israeli proposal, the cessation of hostilities permanently, essentially meaning the end of the war.


So Biden is actually talking about the end of the war like he's saying that out loud, which is not something we've been hearing from Israel at all, at least publicly. On the contrary, in fact, our colleagues wrote a story at the end of last week when one senior israeli official said the war would last until at least the end of the year. So this is something very new.


Absolutely. And then we get to phase three because there's a third phase to this plan, and that is moving ahead already to the day after the war, which has been kept very vague by the Israelis up to now. And the phase that President Biden outlined was essentially just for a major reconstruction plan for Gaza.


That's the offer that's now on the table. And what we've been asking for is what we need.


So the president is saying that this is a deal that should be accepted, that meets the requirements of both sides, that can point to a path forward. And he makes a couple of points to bolster that.


The people of Israel should know they can make this offer without any further risk to their own security because they devastated Hamas forces, one of which is.


That, in his view, Hamas has already been sufficiently degraded and devastated to the point where, as President Biden puts it, Hamas is no longer capable of carrying out another October 7.


In other words, that goal of, you know, total victory that Netanyahu talks about. Biden is actually saying they've accomplished it. The Israelis have accomplished it.


Not really. Actually, he takes on Netanyahu on the total victory slogan, indefinite war in pursuit.


Of an unidentified notion of total victory, will not bring Israel and will not bring down bogged out, will only bog down Israel and Gaza, draining the economic, military and human, and human resources, and furthering Israel's isolation in the world, and.


Says that total victory is a kind of nebulous and unrealistic goal that would basically mean indefinite war. Because what does total victory mean? You can't kill every last Hamas operative. And even if you did, presumably there would be many more Palestinians who would come to replace them. And in a way, he's using this speech to go over the head of Netanyahu and go straight to the israeli people and present them with these terms to, in a way, corner Netanyahu, but also to put down the gauntlet to Hamas and say, here are the terms. They sound very like the terms Hamas was asking for and putting Hamas equally on the spot to come back to the table. Even though Israel is still fighting in.


Rafah, it's time to begin this new stage, for the hostages to come home, for Israel to be secure, for the suffering to stop. It's time for this war to end, for the day after to begin. Thank you very much.


So Biden is essentially saying here, listen, Israel, you have won the war effectively, like Hamas is degraded. Now it's time to accept the ceasefire deal that you yourself have designed. What was the reaction inside Israel?


The initial reaction took a while to come because President Biden made his speech and it landed at about 830 in the evening on Friday, Israel time. And this is the time where many, many families are sitting around their Sabbath dinner table. As I was with my family and friends, not watching the news, not looking at phones, for the most part, observant Jews have actually switched off for the Sabbath and aren't going to hear any news until Saturday night. And as the news did begin to trickle out, it really shook Israel up. And this leaves Netanyahu in a great bind, because for months he's really been playing for time and juggling competing interests and really not having to make a decision one way or the other on what comes next. We've been hearing that Rafah is really the last stronghold of Hamas, and this is something the military has to do. But after that, there was just a kind of void and no news on the hostages or a ceasefire or a deal on the horizon. And so when this speech was made, suddenly it shook up everything. And Netanyahu is suddenly facing a very crucial choice.


We'll be right back.


I'm Julie Turkowitz. I'm a reporter at the New York Times. I have been trying to understand changes in migration, so I traveled with photographer Federico Rio to the Darien gap, this hot, mountainous, 70 miles stretch of jungle straddling the border of Colombia and Panama. We're hiking through a river just like covered in mud. Many used to think that this route was impassable, but thousands have been risking their lives to pass through the Darien, almost all in the hopes of making it to the United States. We spent nine days hiking through the gap and weeks building trust and relationships with migrants, with smugglers, with migration authorities to even be able to do this report. We interviewed hundreds of people who have made this journey to try and grasp what's making them go to these lengths to find a new life. New York Times journalists spend time in these places to help you understand what's really happening there. You can support this kind of journalism by subscribing to the New York Times.


So, Isabel, you said that this is a very important moment for Natin, Yahoo. That now he really is facing a choice. What does he do? What does he come out and say?


So his office actually put out a statement, and his first response was that Israel is sticking to its objectives of the destruction of Hamas military and governing capabilities. And he said the actual proposal put forward by Israel would allow Israel to uphold these principles. Now, this was slightly ambiguous response that you could pass in different ways. He wasn't exactly denying that this was an israeli proposal. And indeed, we quickly learned that, in fact, Israel's war cabinet had unanimously voted on the general outlines of what President Biden had presented. He wasn't denying it, but the one thing missing from that statement was this declaration we'd been hearing for months on end, that the war wouldn't end until there was total victory that had gone.


So total victory had gone, which is a difference, which means potentially the war goals have shifted a little bit.


Well, the way he articulated it is talking about the degradation or dismantling of Hamas capabilities as opposed to talking about the total elimination of Hamas as a movement. And then he followed up his office, put out another statement on Saturday, also still during the Sabbath, which was a little stronger. He said under the proposal, Israel would insist on its conditions being met, these same war objectives before a permanent ceasefire is put in place, and that any suggestion that Israel would agree to that permanent ceasefire before the conditions are met would be a non starter. But again, you know, it was kind of conditional and could be interpreted in different ways. At what point does one declare that the capabilities have been dismantled or sufficiently degraded? So it left a lot of room for maneuver.


And so what is Netanyahu up to here, Isabel?


I think he's trying to balance all these competing sides. He seems to be trying not to torpedo the chances of this deal, but at the same time to be able to hang on politically when he has a very serious challenge looming within his government should this deal go ahead?


So tell me about that challenge.


Israels government is formed of a coalition of parties. Netanyahu's Likud is the main party, but it totally relies for its majority in parliament on its partners in the coalition, and they include two ultra orthodox parties and two far right parties. And the far right parties have both come out explicitly saying that should this deal, as outlined by President Biden go ahead, they will not be party to it.


So Netanyahu faces this real political danger on his right.


That's right. So there are the leaders of these two right wing parties who he relies on for his coalition government. He relies on them for his majority in parliament. And the leaders of those parties are Itamar Benqvir, who's the national security minister, and Bertzalel Smotric, who is currently the finance minister. Now, neither of these parties nor their leaders are sitting in the much more tight and small war cabinet that actually oversees and directs and makes the decisions on the course of the war in Gaza. They were seen as way too extreme to be part of that forum. That forum is much more reflective of the national consensus. But these parties are part of the broader government, and they have threatened not only to oppose the deal as outlined by President Biden, should it go ahead, but they have actually vowed, if it does go ahead, that they would withdraw their support to Netanyahu and bring his government down. And if his government were to collapse as a result, he would then be facing a new election. Now, he has been trying to stave off the end of the war and the prospect of new elections ever since October 7, because then he's in danger of facing that public reckoning for the perceived failures, the government's policy failures, the military's failures, the intelligence failures leading up to the Hamas led attack of October 7.


But we really might be getting to crunch time when it comes to his political lifeline here.


So this is a pretty dramatic moment for Netanyahu then, right? I mean, he's under tremendous pressure from Biden, his biggest ally. Biden's basically asking him to choose between this deal, which means the end of the war, something his coalition partners, these hard right guys, really don't want, and his own power essentially, right, staying alive politically, or the end of the war and the hostages coming home. That is a very stark choice absolutely.


And then there are other choices that he has to weigh because, you know, Israel has been increasingly isolated and under international censure for its prosecution of the war in Gaza. Netanyahu himself is facing the prospect of possible arrest warrants being put out against him from the International Criminal court in the Hague. Israel is in the dock on a genocide case in the International Court of Justice in the Hague. So should he go ahead with this deal? He has been offered sweeteners, like an invitation to address congressional. And this would, in a way, be a way of bringing him back into the fold.


So, Isabel, say Netanyahu approves this proposal. How likely is it that the right wing Smotrich and Ben Guvir actually do leave the government? I mean, they would be giving up power, too.


No, they would. And if we look at all the opinion polls being done in Israel in the last few months, but Salel Smutritch and his religious Zionism party, for one, would barely scrape back into parliament in another election. And therefore, there's a lot at stake for him, too, and for Itamar Bengwir, because if the next government that's formed is not going to be a right wing and far right government, he would find himself out of power, too.


But, Isabel, let's say they do leave. What happens in that scenario?


Well, the assumption is that the government would collapse. It would lose its majority, and naturally, the Knesset would vote to dissolve itself and set a date for a new election, which would have to come within five months. And during that period, this government would turn into a caretaker government. Now, usually a caretaker government, that's a transitional one in that period before elections isn't supposed to make dramatic decisions for the country. But, you know, being a caretaker government during wartime, this puts Israel in uncharted political territory. Then, theoretically, if we were to ask, could such a government even approve a deal once it had been negotiated? Even without the support of those far right parties, apparently there would still be enough in favor to see it through.


Interesting. So it seems like there are a lot of possibilities for how this could go, but it does, in a way, rely on Netanyahu deciding what Israel's course will be. It seems like he probably needs to land on one of these options. What do you think he's going to do?


Well, it might not end up being black and white. Take the deal or not take the deal. We might end up seeing something in between. Because, you know, I think Netanyahu, who is facing huge public pressure to bring back those hostages who still are alive, would definitely want to move ahead with at least that first part of the deal that would see a six week temporary ceasefire in return for the most vulnerable hostages. And then you get into the much trickier part of that negotiation for the next stage, which would involve essentially ending the war. And it could be that, you know, we might see Netanyahu wanting to proceed with this deal, but only partially, and then get to a point where it can't go further. And Netanyahu is probably very keenly aware of the american political timetable. There are skeptics here who say that by Labor Day, all the american attention is going to be focused on America's own internal politics running up to the November elections, and that Netanyahu basically just has to survive another 90 days to get to that point, at which point the pressure subsides.


So this is a scenario in which he just basically runs out the clock. He keeps on that tightrope.


That's a possibility, absolutely. And one that he would be very adept at doing if the past is anything to go by.


Okay. So there are a number of ways Netanyahu could actually handle this. How should we think about what Biden has really accomplished here?


Well, I think it's hard to say that one's speech is going to change the course or the outcome of this war, but it certainly has crystallized the issues and brought them out into the light after months and months of murkiness that Netanyahu was able to, in a way, hide behind and operate within. And I think now he's in the spotlight and assuming that Hamas is willing to accept and go along with this negotiation for this proposal, the israeli public's expectations have certainly been risen now toward a deal. And all eyes are now on Netanyahu to see which way he will go.


Isabel, thank you.


Thank you so much.


In an interview with Time magazine published on Tuesday, Biden was asked whether Netanyahu was prolonging the war in Gaza in an effort to hold onto office. Biden said, there is every reason for people to draw that conclusion. Well, be right back. Here's what else you should know today. On Tuesday, republican lawmakers in Arizona voted to put a ballot measure before voters in November that would make unlawfully crossing the border from Mexico a crime in the state. The move would put the border crisis directly onto the ballot in a key swing state, potentially firing up anti immigration conservative voters. It is similar to a law passed in Texas earlier this year, currently held up in court after it was challenged by the Biden administration. And the results of a major election in India have been tallied and they are deeply disappointing for Indias prime minister, Narendra Modi. Modi appeared to have secured a third consecutive term in office. However, his BJP party did not deliver the landslide victory it had promised and even lost its majority in parliament. Now Modi and the BJP must come to an agreement with other parties in order to form a coalition government in Indias parliamentary system.


Todays episode was produced by Will Reid, Eric Krupke, and Sidney Harper. It was edited by Brendan Klingenberg and Michael Benoit, contains original music by Marianne Lozano, Diane Wong, Dan Powell, and Rohan Mimisteau, and was engineered by Chris Wood. Our theme music is by Jim Brunberg and Ben Landsvirk. Of wonderly. That's it for the daily I'm Sabrina Tavernisi. See you tomorrow.