Gaza ceasefire plan should be given ‘positive’ consideration, Taoiseach says

A proposed deal to end the conflict in Gaza can create the space to build a just and lasting peace based on a two-state solution, Ireland’s premier has said.

Taoiseach Simon Harris encouraged Israel and Hamas to give the three-phase plan outlined by President Joe Biden “serious and positive consideration”.

The first phase would involve a six-week ceasefire, an Israeli withdrawal from densely populated areas of Gaza and the release of some hostages in exchange for the release of Palestinian prisoners.

The second phase would see Hamas freeing all remaining living hostages, including Israeli soldiers, while the Israeli Defence Forces would make a full withdrawal from Gaza.

Israel-Hamas conflict
The flag of Palestine flew outside the Irish parliament in Dublin following the decision by the Government to formally recognise the state of Palestine (Niall Carson/PA)

The third phase would focus on the reconstruction of Gaza.

On Saturday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office insisted the conditions for ending the war have “not changed”.

It said that would only happen with the destruction of the military and governing capabilities of Hamas and the freeing of all hostages.

Ireland formally recognised Palestinian statehood last month in a move heavily criticised by Israel.

Mr Harris said the opportunity to end the war should not be missed.

“I have long called for an immediate ceasefire, the release of all hostages and unimpeded access for aid into Gaza,” he said.

“Now after almost eight months of conflict and suffering, there is a plan on the table that can move us closer to securing those goals and that can help create space to build a just and lasting peace and two-state solution.

“I call on all parties to give the plan presented by President Biden serious and positive consideration.

“This is an opportunity that should not be missed.

“It is long past time for the suffering to end.”