President Joe Biden addressed Israel’s ceasefire in its conflict with the terror group Hamas during a Thursday night press conference.
“Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu informed me that Israel has agreed to a mutual unconditional ceasefire beginning in less than two hours. The Egyptians have now informed us that Hamas, and the other groups in Gaza, have also agreed,” Biden said. The Israeli Cabinet agreed earlier Thursday that it would stop bombing Hamas military targets in Gaza after a two and a half hour meeting, and the ceasefire will go into effect at 2 a.m. Friday morning local time.
“In my conversations with President [sic] Netanyahu I commended him for the decision to bring the current hostilities to a close in less than eleven days. I also emphasize what I said throughout this conflict. The United States fully supports Israel’s right to defend itself against indiscriminate rocket attacks from Hamas and other Gaza-based terrorist groups that have taken the lives of innocent civilians in Israel.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu previously promised to Biden that Israel would “continue this operation until its aim is met.” Biden and other prominent Democrats, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, had called for a ceasefire. (RELATED: Sen. Young Walks Back Support For Middle East Ceasefire If It ‘Occurs On Hamas’ Terms’)
Biden emphasized Egypt’s role in promoting the ceasefire.
“I extend my sincere gratitude to President Sisi and senior Egyptian officials who played such a critical role in this diplomacy. I also appreciate the contributions of other parties in the region who have been engaged in working toward the end of hostilities.”
“We’ve held intensive high level discussions hour by hour, literally, with Egypt, the Palestinian Authority and other Middle Eastern countries, with the aim of avoiding the sort of prolonged conflict we’ve seen in previous years when hostilities have broken out.”
Hamas has launched more than 4,000 rockets into Israel since May 10. Although many have been intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome and other misfired back into Gaza, at least twelve Israelis have been killed, according to CNN. At least 232 Palestinians have been killed, including at least 150 Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad operatives, according to the Jerusalem Post.