Joe Biden says Gaza ceasefire could be reached by next Monday | Joe Biden

Joe Biden

US President says in New York: “My hope is that we have a ceasefire by next Monday… my national security adviser tells me we are close to it.”

Tuesday 27 February 2024 01:23 GMT

Joe Biden said he believes a new, temporary ceasefire between Israel and Hamas is possible by next Monday.

The US president gave the update spontaneously during a visit to New York on Monday, in response to reporters' questions about when he thought a ceasefire might begin.

“My national security adviser tells me we are close. We're close. We’re not done yet,” Biden said. “I hope we have a ceasefire by next Monday.”

Biden made the comments in New York after taping an appearance on NBC's “Late Night With Seth Meyers.”

Over the weekend, Israel's War Cabinet agreed to the general terms of an agreement that called for a break in fighting for several weeks in return for the release of hostages. The week-long pause would allow hundreds of trucks to deliver aid to Gaza, where the health ministry says nearly 30,000 people have been killed and most of the population has been ravaged by disease and starvation.

Last week, the United Nations food agency suspended aid to the northern Gaza Strip, citing Israeli gunfire and “utter chaos and violence due to the breakdown of civil order” as reports of famine mounted.

Biden's comments came hours after an active-duty U.S. Air Force soldier died after setting himself on fire outside the Israeli embassy in Washington to protest the war in Gaza.

The offensive follows an Oct. 7 attack by Hamas in Israel that killed about 1,200 people and took nearly 200 people hostage. About 100 hostages were released under an earlier agreement in exchange for a week-long break. Israeli officials believe there are about 130 hostages still in the Gaza Strip.

U.S. officials hope a pause in fighting for several weeks could provide a path to ending the war. But Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, has promised to continue the bombing of Israel after the break. “I have set myself three war goals. The first is to release the hostages. The second is to destroy Hamas. And third, it is important to ensure that Gaza does not pose a threat to Israel in the future,” he said on CBS’ “Face of the Nation.” “Understand that we cannot have peace unless we achieve complete victory. We cannot let Hamas exist.”

The situation has become politically complicated for Biden, who is fighting for votes in the US presidential primaries. During Tuesday's election in Michigan, activists called on Democrats to mark their ballots as “non-binding” instead of supporting Biden, urging the president to change course and call for a permanent ceasefire.


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