Biden says no Gaza cease-fire deal soon, as mediators work to bridge gaps


U.S. President Joe Biden said he doesn’t expect to seal a Gaza cease-fire deal in the near future, as an American-backed proposal with global support has not been fully embraced by Israel or Hamas.

Biden said Thursday that international leaders had discussed the cease-fire at the Group of Seven summit in Italy, but when asked by reporters if a truce deal wound be reached soon, Biden replied simply, “No,” adding, “I haven’t lost hope.”

The Palestinian militant group responded to the proposal this week by offering changes, which it said aim to guarantee a permanent cease-fire and complete Israeli troop withdrawal from Gaza. The proposal announced by Biden includes those provisions, but Hamas has expressed wariness whether Israel will implement the terms.

Earlier Thursday, U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan pushed back against assertions that Israel isn’t fully committed to the cease-fire plan. Sullivan said the goal is “to figure out how we work to bridge the remaining gaps and get to a deal.”

And on the Israel-Lebanon border, Hezbollah militants launched rockets and explosive drones against Israeli military posts for a second day in retaliation for the killing of a senior commander. The escalation comes as some Israeli leaders have threatened all-out war to silence Hezbollah’s rocket fire, and as the militant group seeks to pressure Israel during the cease-fire negotiations in support of its ally Hamas.

Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza has killed more than 37,100 people, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry, which does not distinguish between combatants and civilians in its count. Palestinians are facing widespread hunger because the war has largely cut off the flow of food, medicine and other supplies. U.N. agencies say over 1 million in Gaza could experience the highest level of starvation by mid-July.

Israel launched the war after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, in which militants stormed into southern Israel, killed some 1,200 people — mostly civilians — and abducted about 250.

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Thumb chrisrushlau 18 June 2024, 19:08

Biden added, "We're tossing around the idea that Israel should abandon racism."