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Biden Hopes Gaza Cease-Fire Starts as Soon as Next Monday

Biden Hopes Gaza Cease-Fire Starts as Soon as Next Monday
Israel has been waging a military campaign to root out Hamas in the Gaza Strip in retaliation for the group’s attack, which killed 1,200 people and saw 240 people taken hostage. Photographer: Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images

President Joe Biden expressed hope negotiators would secure a temporary pause in the fighting between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, describing the talks as “close” and saying that a cease-fire could start as soon as next Monday.

“My national security adviser tells me that they’re close, they’re close, they’re not done yet,” Biden told reporters on Monday in New York, when asked when he thought a cease-fire would start.

“My hope is by next Monday we’ll have a cease-fire,” he added.

Discussions on a pause in the fighting in exchange for the release of more hostages taken by Hamas in its deadly Oct. 7 attack on Israel have intensified in recent days. US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said on Sunday that representatives from Israel, the US, Egypt and Qatar meeting in Paris had an agreement on the “broad contours” of a hostage deal for a temporary cease-fire.

Israel has been waging a military campaign to root out Hamas in the Gaza Strip in retaliation for the group’s attack, which killed 1,200 people and saw 240 people taken hostage. Hamas, which is classified as a terrorist group by the US and European Union, controls Gaza.

Yet with the war nearing the start of its sixth month, the rising death toll in Gaza, where the Hamas-run health ministry says more than 29,000 people have died, has increased demands for a cease-fire.

The US has pressured Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to hold off on the next stage of the campaign aimed at the city of Rafah in Gaza’s south, until he can detail plans to help protect civilians. Gazans fleeing military operations sought refuge in Rafah, leading to worries an attack on the city would worsen the humanitarian crisis in the territory. While Biden has backed Israel’s right to defend itself he has also urged its government to do more to avoid civilian deaths.

Read More: Ukraine, Gaza Polarize G-20 as Global Money Chiefs Seek Sidestep

Biden’s remarks come a day before the Democratic primary in Michigan, a key battleground state for his 2024 reelection hopes. While he does not face a serious challenger for the nomination, critics of his Israel policy are encouraging voters to select an “uncommitted” option on the ballot to punish him for his stance.

The president has faced backlash from Muslim and Arab Americans as well as some younger voters and progressives over his handling of the Israel-Hamas war. His events in recent weeks have seen regular protests by pro-Palestinian activists. Michigan is home to a sizable Arab and Muslim American population.

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