Mon. Apr 22nd, 2024

Biden walks back prediction of Monday cease-fire deal in Gaza: ‘Hopeful’ but ‘probably not’

By 37ci3 Feb29,2024

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden on Thursday expressed doubt that a ceasefire agreement could be reached. Israel-Hamas war like monday he said he hoped it would be.

“Hope is eternal,” Biden told reporters on a trip to the U.S.-Mexico border when asked if he still expected a deal on Monday.

“I’ve been on the phone with people in the area,” he said, adding: “Probably not Monday, but I hope so.”

Biden spoke separately with the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, on Thursday morning. and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will discuss hostage negotiations and the general situation in Gaza.

The White House said Biden and the leaders agreed on the release of Hamas hostages, stressing that it would “result in an immediate and lasting ceasefire in Gaza for at least six weeks.”

“They exchanged views on how the calm that has lasted so long can be transformed into something more lasting,” the White House said in a readout of the talks. “They also discussed a plan to increase humanitarian aid to Gaza and how a cease-fire under the pledge agreement will help strengthen these efforts and ensure that aid reaches civilians in need in Gaza.”

“My national security adviser says we’re close, but we’re not done,” Biden told reporters during a visit to New York earlier this week that he hoped a deal would be reached by Monday.

Asked at a White House press briefing Wednesday if that was still an expectation, Biden press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the administration was “working around the clock to get it done.” According to him, the agreement will ensure the delivery of more humanitarian aid to Gaza and the release of hostages in Gaza, including Americans, to return home.

Qatar is mediating talks between Israel and Hamas this week, and talks have also been held in Paris between US, Israeli, Qatari and Egyptian officials about a potential ceasefire.

Violence in the Gaza Strip continued on Thursday Israeli forces opened fire on crowds waiting for humanitarian aid vehicles. Dr. Ashraf Al-Qudra, spokesman for the Hamas-run Ministry of Health, said that at least 100 people were killed and dozens were injured.

NBC News has not independently confirmed the death toll. The Israeli military said it was reviewing the incident. An Israeli government source said IDF soldiers responded with “live fire” after people surrounded trucks carrying humanitarian aid.

This was reported by the Israel Defense Forces Writing in X, “This morning humanitarian aid vehicles entered northern Gaza, residents surrounded the trucks and looted the delivered supplies. “Dozens of Gazans died and were injured as a result of being pushed, trampled and overturned by trucks.”

Reacting to the incident, a spokesman for Biden’s National Security Council said Thursday that the White House was investigating the reports.

“We mourn the loss of innocent lives and recognize the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza, where innocent Palestinians are working just to support their families,” he said. “This underscores the importance of expanding and sustaining the flow of humanitarian aid to Gaza through a potential temporary ceasefire. We continue to work day and night to achieve this result.”

During his comments Thursday, Biden also addressed a recent Alabama Supreme Court ruling that defined embryos as children, endangering in vitro fertilization.

Asked about the Catholic Church’s stance on IVF being immoral, the president — a practicing Catholic — said, “I don’t agree with that position.”

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By 37ci3

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