Biden Pushes for 6-Week Fighting Pause in Israel-Hamas Hostage Deal

President Joe Biden delivers remarks, at a press conference with Jordan’s King Abdullah following their meeting, at the White House in Washington, D.C., February 12, 2024. (Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)

WASHINGTON (Bloomberg News/TNS) — U.S. President Joe Biden said he’s pushing for a six-week pause in fighting between Israel and Hamas to allow for the release of hostages, saying those conditions could lay the groundwork for a broader peace.

Such a pause “would bring an immediate and sustained period of calm into Gaza for at least six weeks, which we could then take the time to build something more enduring,” Biden said Monday following a meeting with Jordan’s King Abdullah II at the White House.

Biden’s comments were his most detailed yet about ongoing negotiations between Israel and Hamas, which the U.S. is helping facilitate. Biden and Abdullah met as concerns grow about a potential Israeli ground offensive in the city of Rafah that threatens to further inflame tensions as well as the humanitarian crisis in the region.

“We cannot afford an Israeli attack on Rafah. It is certain to produce another humanitarian catastrophe,” Abdullah said. “We cannot stand by and let this continue. We need a lasting cease-fire now. This war must end.”

The U.S., its Arab partners and other nations must step up efforts to reach a ceasefire by immediately “working to create a political horizon that leads to a just and comprehensive peace on the basis of the two-state solution,” Abdullah said.

Abdullah’s visit comes as Israeli forces launched more airstrikes on Rafah Monday, which served as a decoy to the raid which helped rescue two hostages held by the Hamas terrorist organization.

Biden has stepped up his criticism of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, urging him to do more to shield civilians. Biden has pressured Israel to allow more aid into Gaza has said Israel should not push into Rafah without first having a “credible and executable plan” to ensure the civilian safety.

Biden and Netanyahu spoke on Sunday, and the Israeli leader said he was working on a plan to move civilians out of the Rafah area. Netanyahu has said the war on Hamas must continue until the group, which is designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. and the European Union, is destroyed.

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