Thu 11 Apr 2024 9:49 pm - Jerusalem Time

Biden backs down from calling on Israel to declare a ceasefire in Gaza

US President Joe Biden on Wednesday backed away from his call for Israel to declare a six- to eight-week ceasefire in Gaza, saying that the truce must be linked to a hostage deal and that the matter is "up to Hamas."

These statements came a day after an interview broadcast on Spanish-language Radio Univision, in which Biden appeared to say that Israel should unilaterally declare a temporary ceasefire, which would have represented a major shift in policy. According to The Times of Israel, and other local outlets in Washington, D.C., the White House has already retracted its call, saying it was referring to the hostage deal being negotiated.

Biden said, "It is now up to Hamas." “They need to move forward with the proposal that was made [so that we can] return these hostages to their homeland where they belong,” he added during a press conference on Wednesday. “It also restores the six-week ceasefire that we need now.”

There is no indication that a hostage deal is close, as Hamas sticks to its demand for a permanent ceasefire and the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza. Israel rejected the demands, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowing that any truce would be temporary.

Biden refuses to pressure Israel to end its attack on Gaza despite the heavy civilian casualties and the famine blockade imposed by Israel, which has put the entire population of the Strip on the brink of starvation. The State Department even admitted that famine may already exist in some areas of Gaza.

Biden also does not budge in the face of significant opposition to his support for Israel from within the Democratic Party. More than 500,000 people cast ballots for the "nonconformists" or "unguided" in the Democratic primaries across the country in protest of the massacre of Palestinians in Gaza.


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Biden backs down from calling on Israel to declare a ceasefire in Gaza