I believe that Palestinians and Israelis alike deserve to live in peace and security
President Joe Biden welcomed an agreement between Israel and Hamas reached after an 11-day war in Gaza killed more than 200 people and prompted calls for the US to separate itself from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government.
“I believe that Palestinians and Israelis alike deserve to live in peace and security, with fair access to freedom, prosperity, and democracy,” Biden said on Thursday at the White House.
The announcement came as the Biden administration increased its pressure on Israel to end the war, which has killed an estimated 232 Palestinians and 12 Israelis.
According to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office, Israel's security cabinet unanimously approved Egypt's plan for an unconditional cease-fire with Hamas. According to Lebanon's Al Mayadeen TV, the cease-fire will begin at 2 a.m. local time on Friday, citing senior Hamas official Osama Hamdan.
According to the White House, Biden urged Netanyahu to end the fighting on Wednesday, informing him during a phone call that he anticipated a "major de-escalation today." Some Democrats pressed the president to take a tougher stance against Israel's government and express more support for Palestinians who had suffered heavy casualties in the war.
However, in a signal to Democrats who want to block arms sales to Israel, Biden said he is willing to help Israel "replenish" the Iron Dome missile defense device used to stop Hamas rockets from reaching Israel.
Biden had been hesitant to openly condemn Israel's government, delaying any public call for a cease-fire for several days.
On Thursday, he reaffirmed his previous remarks that Israel has the right to self-defense. The dispute also revealed the limits of the administration's ability to serve as a mediator in matters involving Hamas, which governs Gaza and is classified as a terrorist organization by the United States.
After four years of being ignored by former President Donald Trump, Palestinians, including the opposing Palestinian Authority in charge of the West Bank, are suspicious of the US government acting as a peacemaker.
The Egyptian government, which has links to both Israel and Hamas, was asked to mediate a cease-fire in this dispute. Biden met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi earlier in the day on Thursday to address the cease-fire talks.