The Biden Administration continues to push Israel for a “humanitarian pause,” if not a full ceasefire in its offensive against Hamas forces in Gaza. This despite the White House’s claims that it fully supports Israel’s quest to eradicate the Hamas threat that brought so much death and destruction to southern Israel on October 7 and sparked the current war.
US President Joe Biden confirmed on Tuesday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had rejected his additional request for a pause in Gaza fighting.
“I did ask him for a pause. He passed,” Biden said in response to a reporter’s question at a White House event in Washington. “I’m still waiting to hear some other things.”
During a phone call on Monday, the two leaders discussed “the possibility of tactical pauses” to afford residents of the Gaza Strip “opportunities to safely depart from areas of ongoing fighting, to ensure assistance is reaching civilians in need and to enable potential hostage releases,” according to a White House readout.
Netanyahu reiterated during an ABC News interview on Monday that “there will be no ceasefire in Gaza without the release of our hostages.”
Such a pause, he said, “will hamper the war effort. It will hamper our effort to get our hostages out. The only thing that works on these Hamas criminals is the military pressure we are exerting,” he said.
Israeli forces have opened a humanitarian corridor in the Gaza Strip every day since Saturday for northern Gaza residents to evacuate to the safe zone in the south across Wadi Gaza, despite coming under fire from Hamas terrorists.
Avichay Adraee, the Israel Defense Forces’ Arabic-language spokesman, on Tuesday published video footage of a convoy of hundreds of Gazans walking south on the Salah al-Din route. Some of them appeared to be raising their hands and others seemed to be carrying white flags.
Herzog to Harris: No ceasefire until hostages returned
Israeli President Isaac Herzog similarly told US Vice President Kamala Harris on Tuesday that there would be no ceasefire in the fighting against Hamas until the Palestinian terrorist group releases over 240 hostages being held in the Gaza Strip.
Harris called Herzog to express solidarity with the Jewish state as the country marked one month since Hamas’s Oct. 7 invasion and massacre of 1,400 people.
Herzog “reiterated the appreciation of the Israeli people for the steadfast support of President [Joe] Biden and his administration… and noted that the immediate and unconditional return of the hostages was Israel’s prime concern,” according to an Israeli statement.
The president “repeated Prime Minister Netanyahu’s statement… that there could be no ceasefire without the release of hostages held by Hamas, which include women, men, the elderly, children and babies as young as 10 months old,” per the readout.
Harris expressed “her support for Israel’s right to defend itself and stressed the importance of the well-being of the civilian population and the humanitarian situation in Gaza,” said the statement.
In response, Herzog emphasized that Jerusalem is committed to abiding by international humanitarian law as it continues to defend itself and uproot Hamas’s terrorist infrastructure, which is embedded within Gaza’s civilian population.
The president also noted “Israel’s ongoing commitment to the supply of humanitarian aid to Gaza which had increased significantly in recent days, even while Israeli hostages were denied access to the International Red Cross and no information about their well-being was provided,” according to the statement.
Lastly, the two leaders spoke of their shared concern about the dramatic rise in antisemitism around the world, with Herzog expressing alarm over the death of a supporter of Israel following a pro-Hamas demonstration in the US.
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