Israel ultra-Orthodox parties back Gaza ceasefire deal

Israel ultra-Orthodox parties back Gaza ceasefire deal
The Shas and United Torah Judaism parties have supported the Gaza deal proposed by Biden on Friday, in contrast to the far-right.
2 min read
Two of Netanyahu's ultra-orthodox coalition partners have said they back the most recent Gaza peace deal [Getty]

Two ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's ruling coalition said on Tuesday that they support the Gaza ceasefire proposal announced by US President Joe Biden.

On Friday, Biden said that Israel was offering a new three-stage roadmap that would lead to a lasting ceasefire, a move that has angered Netanyahu's far-right coalition members.

But on Tuesday, the largest partner in the alliance, Shas, said it backed the proposal which would facilitate the return of hostages still held in Gaza.

"Shas supports the proposal and encourages the prime minister and the war cabinet to resist all pressures, conclude this agreement and save the lives of many of our brothers and sisters," said the party that has 11 seats in the 120-member parliament.

Yitzhak Goldknopf, leader of the other ultra-Orthodox party United Torah Judaism, which has seven seats, said on X that he had told the hostage families "that we will support any proposal that leads to the release of the hostages".

According to Biden, Israel's offer would begin with a six-week phase that would see its forces withdraw from populated areas of Gaza and an initial captive exchange.

The parties would then negotiate for a lasting ceasefire, with the truce to continue for as long as talks are ongoing.

In its final phase, the plan would lead to the reconstruction of the devastated Palestinian territory without Hamas in power, Biden said.

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Shortly after Biden unveiled the plan, Netanyahu said the roadmap was only "partial".

"The claims that we have agreed to a ceasefire without our conditions being met are incorrect," he said in a statement on Monday, insisting that the ultimate aim of the war to destroy Hamas remained.

Netanyahu is under immense pressure from his other far-right coalition partners who have threatened to torpedo the government if a hostage deal is signed without meeting that aim.

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich have expressed harsh opposition to such a deal.

Major powers the G7 and several Arab nations have urged both Israel and Hamas to agree to the deal, while Washington said it would seek a UN Security Council resolution to back the three-phase roadmap presented by Biden.