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Gazans Pin Hopes on New Truce Proposal, but Remain Skeptical

Gazans Pin Hopes on New Truce Proposal, but Remain Skeptical
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A cease-fire plan described by President Biden has stirred cautious optimism after nearly eight months of war in the Gaza Strip.

Two women, one with her face in her hands, surrounded by rubble.
Two sisters searching for their missing mother in the rubble of a house hit in an Israeli strike in Khan Younis on Monday.Credit…Mohammed Salem/Reuters

After eight months of devastating bombardment by Israeli forces, some Gazans are urging Hamas to accept a cease-fire plan outlined by President Biden, but many remain deeply skeptical that the United States, as Israel’s chief ally, would truly bring an end to the war.

“I am hopeful that Hamas will accept this deal,” said Ayman Skeik, a 31-year-old merchant driven out of his home in Gaza City by the fighting. “But I am still scared it would not be achieved.”

Like other Gazans, Mr. Skeik, who is now sheltering in Deir al-Balah in central Gaza, said he had grown frustrated by the long and generally fruitless cease-fire talks. He noted pointedly that months ago, in February, Mr. Biden suggested that a deal was imminent.

“The United States used to have a strong word when it wanted to stop any crisis in the world,” Mr. Skeik said. “But nowadays, I see a different thing.”

Speaking at the White House on Friday, Mr. Biden said that Hamas was no longer capable of carrying out a major terrorist attack on Israel like the one on Oct. 7 and that it was “time to end this war.”

He described what he said was a three-phase Israeli plan submitted to Hamas last week that would secure the release of the remaining hostages seized on Oct. 7 and ultimately lead to the “cessation of hostilities permanently” and the rebuilding of Gaza.

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