President Joe Biden has advocated for a temporary halt in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, to facilitate the safe evacuation of hostages. The suggestion came in response to a question from a protester during a campaign event in Minnesota. The protester, Rabbi Jessica Rosenberg, urged the President to call for an immediate cease-fire.
The conflict, which escalated following a terrorist attack by Hamas on October 7, has resulted in the capture of 239 hostages, including children and the elderly. The President’s call for a “pause” is aimed at creating a window of opportunity for the safe release of these hostages.
While the President’s comments were not an official policy announcement, a White House official confirmed that Biden had been in talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, urging him to temporarily cease military operations in certain parts of Gaza. This was to facilitate the safe evacuation of two American-Israeli hostages, Natalie and Judith Raanan.
Last week, Biden emphasized the need for an increase in humanitarian aid to Gaza. This followed Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s statement that “humanitarian pauses must be considered” to allow essential supplies to reach the region.
The Rafah border crossing was opened for the first time since the siege began, allowing up to 500 people to cross daily. This was made possible through an agreement between Egypt, Hamas, and Israel. The first group of U.S. citizens has already been evacuated from Gaza through this crossing.
Read more at NBC News.