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HomeWorldAmericasJoe Biden agrees to "humanitarian pause" in Gaza, not a "ceasefire"

Joe Biden agrees to “humanitarian pause” in Gaza, not a “ceasefire”

US President Joe Biden has suggested at a campaign event in Minnesota that a humanitarian “pause” is needed in Gaza to remove “prisoners” from the enclave.

The 80-year-old Democrat was giving a speech to 200 supporters in a northern US state when a member of the audience turned to shout at him:

“As a rabbi, I need you to call for a ceasefire right now.”

Joe Biden responded:

“I think we need a pause. A pause means giving time to get the prisoners out.”

The White House commented on Biden’s remarks at the event. The president was referring to hostages held by Hamas when he spoke of “prisoners.” Joe Biden then got into a conversation with a woman, calling Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, nicknamed Bibi. He said:

“I’m the guy that convinced Bibi to call for a ceasefire to let the prisoners out. I’m the guy that talked to (Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El) Sisi to convince him to open the door along Gaza’s border with Egypt to allow freed hostages to leave.”

The US president noted that this refers to the recent release of two American hostages previously held by a Palestinian group.

The White House has previously called on Israel to make “humanitarian pauses” to deliver aid to Gaza or carry out evacuations, but has so far refused to discuss a ceasefire, believing it would play into the hands of Hamas alone.

Progressive groups as well as Muslim and Arab Americans have criticised Biden for his support for Israel’s campaign against Hamas, which has led to the deaths of thousands of civilians in the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli army has been carrying out regular airstrikes on the Gaza Strip and launching a growing ground offensive into the territory since the Hamas-initiated Operation Al-Aqsa Flood, a multi-pronged surprise attack that included a barrage of rocket launches and infiltration into Israel by land, sea and air on 7 October. Hamas said the incursion was in retaliation for the storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and increased violence by Israeli settlers against Palestinians.

Israeli strikes have killed at least 8,796 Palestinians living in the narrow coastal enclave since 7 October, including 3,648 children, according to Gaza’s health ministry. The Hamas-led government said Israeli strikes on the Jabaliya refugee camp killed at least 195 Palestinians on Wednesday.

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