- ‘The United States is working on a hostage deal between Israel and Hamas,’ Biden said, noting the ceasefire would last ‘about six weeks’
- ‘We need a lasting ceasefire now. This war must end,’ King Abdullah said
- Abdullah and Biden are seeking to move the Israel-Hamas war into a new phase
President Joe Biden refused to answer questions on Monday after his meeting with King Abdullah II of Jordan but did say the two were working on a hostage deal to bring a temporary cease fire.
‘The United States is working on a hostage deal between Israel and Hamas, which would bring an immediate and sustained period of calm to Gaza for at least six weeks,’ Biden said.
For his part, Abdullah called for a permanent cease-fire.
‘We need a lasting ceasefire now. This war must end,’ he said.
‘The United States is working on a hostage deal between Israel and Hamas , which would bring an immediate and sustained period of calm to Gaza for at least six weeks,’ President Joe Biden said after meeting with Jordan’s King Abdullah II
Biden’s refusal to speak to the press came after Special Counsel Robert Hur issued his report, which contained the politically embarrassing observation of the president as a ‘well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.’
When the report dropped on Thursday, he delivered hastily scheduled remarks to slam Hur for casting doubt on his memory, including the death of his son Beau.
Biden took one short question earlier Monday when the King, Queen Rania, and Crown Prince Hussein arrived at the White House but he did not address additional queries about the fate of the hostages.
Abdullah and Biden are seeking to move the Israel-Hamas war into a new phase in which Israeli hostages are released and fighting stops for a prolonged time periods.
‘The key elements of the deal are on the table,’ Biden said. ‘There are gaps that remain, but I’ve encouraged Israeli leaders to keep working to achieve the deal. The United States will do everything possible to make it happen.’
The king warned humanitarian catastrophes were in the making without a cease fire and expressed concern over a possible Israeli military operation in the border city of Rafah.
‘We cannot afford an Israeli attack on Rafah; It is certain to produce another humanitarian catastrophe,’ he warned.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has asked the military to prepare a plan to evacuate about 1.5 million Palestinian civilians who have fled to southern Rafah to seek safety in order to continue its operation against Hamas.
Netanyahu and Biden had a significant back and forth about the potential expansion of Israeli military operations into Rafah when the two men spoke on Sunday.
Biden reiterated U.S. opposition to the idea under the ‘current conditions’ while more than 1.3 million people are sheltering there.
The president, asked earlier Monday if Netanyahu would take his advice, replied: ‘Everybody does.’
Jordan is one of the many Middle East nations encouraging the White House to put pressure on Israel over its harsh campaign against Hamas.
Jordan, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority, in October, cancelled a planned meeting with Biden less than 24 hours before it was scheduled to start in the the Jordanian capital of Amman.
Jordan and other Arab states have been highly critical of Israel´s actions.
For his part, Biden praised the work of the Jordanian king and his country for helping with the humanitarian crisis that has eveloped the Palestinian people as the war between Israel and Hamas continues.
Palestinians receive relief food supplies in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah
A Palestinian family on the beach at sunset near Rafah refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip
President Joe Biden, center, and first lady Jill Biden, second right, pose for a photo upon greeting Jordan’s King Abdullah II, second left, Queen Rania, right, and Crown Prince Hussein, left, on the North Portico of the White House
The Palestinian death toll from the war has surpassed 28,000 people, according to the Health Ministry in Gaza. A quarter of Gaza´s residents are starving.
The war began with Hamas´ assault into Israel on Oct. 7, in which militants killed about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and abducted around 250.
Israel says about 100 hostages remain in Hamas captivity, while Hamas is holding the remains of roughly 30 others who were either killed on Oct. 7 or died in captivity. Three hostages were mistakenly killed by the army after escaping their captors in December.
Biden’s meeting with King Abdullah also came a few weeks after three U.S. service members were killed in an airstrike in Jordan.