White House Finds Peace Moves Encouraging

WASHINGTON (AP) -
Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, right, and his German counterpart Heiko Maas shake hands during a press conference at Ben Gurion Airport, Thursday. Maas was visiting in a show of solidarity with Israel. (Abir Sultan/Pool Photo via AP)

The White House says that reports of a move toward a cease-fire between Israel and the Hamas terrorist group that rules the Gaza Strip are “clearly encouraging” but cautioned that a truce has yet to be agreed on.

Press secretary Jen Psaki said on Thursday that the United States’ “strategic approach here is to communicate directly, stay closely interlocked with the Israelis, with partners on the ground, to do everything we can to bring an end to the conflict.”

She noted that the U.S. has “held more than 80 engagements with senior leaders in Israel, the Palestinian Authority and across the region.”
Psaki also said the Biden administration believes the Israelis “are in a position to start winding their operations down and certainly that is what we’ve been conveying and that is what we expect to happen.”

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations says the United States will continue “to relentlessly push for peace” between Israel and Hamas.
Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said the U.S. met with diplomats at the highest levels over the past two weeks, including at least five by President Joe Biden, to try to quickly end the conflict.

She spoke on Thursday at an emergency in-person meeting of the U.N. General Assembly and underscored that the U.S. administration is committed to working with Israelis, Palestinians and parties across the Middle East to stop the hostilities.

She said, “I don’t believe there is any country working more urgently or fervently toward peace.”