The ceasefire that the United States is negotiating with other Middle East allies for Gaza would last “at least six weeks”, as President Joe Biden explained this Tuesday after receiving King Abdullah II of Jordan at the White House, as Israel An offensive was being prepared against the city of Rafah, where 1.3 million people are crowded and where humanitarian organizations warn that a bloodbath could occur. The White House tenant expressed optimism about the possibility of finalizing the deal, which would allow the exchange of hostages between Israel and Hamas in exchange for a longer ceasefire that Washington hopes will lead to “something more permanent.” “The key elements are obvious.” Table,” he said, although he clarified that “there are still gaps.”
The president's tone during his appearance was more critical than on previous occasions when he spoke about the war in Gaza. Along with his Arab ally, who arrived in Washington to call for a ceasefire and humanitarian aid for the 2.3 million Palestinians trapped in Gaza, he pointed to “the unimaginable loss and pain” of this population, “exposed and vulnerable and who need help “are protected” and who in many cases have already been displaced from place to place during the four-month war.
“The United States is working on a hostage pact between Israel and Hamas that would lead to a period of calm in Gaza that would last at least six weeks,” Biden said. The president, who is widely criticized in parts of his own party for his unconditional support for Israel, reiterated what he had already warned on Sunday in a telephone conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: that the attack on Rafah on the border with Egypt should be carried out will not proceed unless Israel has a “credible” protection plan for the Palestinian population.
Biden, who in November questioned the Palestinian Health Ministry's death toll and claimed it was controlled by the radical Hamas militia, has now admitted that the death toll exceeds 27,000, including thousands of children, and that hundreds of thousands of Palestinians lack access to food, water and basic services. But he stopped short of calling for a permanent ceasefire or announcing punitive measures against Israel, as called for by international officials including European diplomacy chief Josep Borrell.
The Jordanian king did so on his first visit to Washington since the deaths of three American soldiers last month in a drone strike by pro-Iranian militias from Iraq on a US outpost in Jordan, in which forty more people were injured. “We now need a permanent ceasefire,” emphasized the sovereign, “this war must end.” He also spoke bluntly about the Israeli threats to attack Rafah: “We cannot allow that. “It would trigger a humanitarian catastrophe.”
The Hashemite monarch also called for more humanitarian aid to be provided in Gaza “by all possible means” and defended the UN relief agency for the Palestinian territories, UNRWA. Several Western countries, including the United States, have suspended donations while they investigate allegations that some of their employees were involved in the Hamas attacks against Israel on October 7. “It is imperative that UNRWA receives support to continue its operations,” which are crucial to distributing aid to civilians in Gaza, he stressed.
Join EL PAÍS to follow all the news and read without restrictions.
During their meeting, the two heads of state and government discussed, in addition to negotiations on a temporary ceasefire, the future in the Palestinian territories after the war. Biden said the two discussed the need for “urgent” reform of the Palestinian Authority to take at least some authority in Gaza and replace Hamas. “You must prepare to build a state that accepts peace and that does not harbor terrorist groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad,” Biden said.
Follow all international information on Facebook and Xor in our weekly newsletter.