Within 3 Days, Biden Does Total 180 On Gaza Ceasefire Prediction

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Jake Smith Contributor
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Over the last three days, President Joe Biden has made opposing statements about when he believes there will be a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

The Biden administration is pushing for a temporary ceasefire in the ongoing Israel-Hamas war in Gaza so that a hostage release deal can be secured and aid can be delivered to the conflict-stricken region. Biden on Monday was confident that there would be a ceasefire by Mar. 4, but said on Thursday that it’s unlikely to happen. (RELATED: There’s A Few Major Warning Signs For Biden After Latest Primary Contest)

Biden first told reporters his ceasefire prediction in an ice cream shop in New York City on Monday alongside NBC late-night host Seth Meyers, having appeared on his show that day.

“Well, I hope by the beginning of the weekend — I mean the end of the weekend,” Biden told reporters. “My national security advisor [Jake Sullivan] tells me that we’re close. We’re close. It’s not done yet.  My hope is by next Monday, we’ll have a ceasefire.”

Biden’s comments caught Israeli officials off guard, as the timeline for a ceasefire on Mar. 4 had not been coordinated with the country’s leadership, according to The Associated Press. It is unclear why Biden or Sullivan believed that a ceasefire could be achieved by that date; National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said during a press briefing Tuesday he couldn’t speak to Israeli officials surprise about the prediction, but reaffirmed that the Biden administration hoped to lock down a deal “very, very soon.”

Neither Israel nor Hamas were optimistic that a temporary ceasefire deal could be reached by Mar. 4, according to the AP. Israeli officials say they are still committed to securing a deal if the terms are right, though they view Hamas’ demands as unrealistic, as the terrorist group previously demanded a full-scale ceasefire be included.

Biden seemingly changed his tune on Thursday and said it was unlikely a ceasefire would go into effect by Mar. 4. “I was on the telephone with the people in the region,” Biden told reporters before boarding Marine One. “Probably not by Monday, but I’m hopeful.”

The start of Ramadan on Mar. 10 is seen as the unofficial deadline to secure a temporary ceasefire deal, which is currently being negotiated between Israel and Hamas through U.S., Egyptian and Qatari negotiators. Israeli officials have warned they will begin a ground assault in Rafah, the southernmost city of Gaza, if a deal isn’t reached by Ramadan.

Israel launched a sweeping counteroffensive against Hamas in the wake of the terrorist group’s attacks against the country on Oct. 7, which killed over 1,200 civilians and took hundreds of others hostage. Israel has successfully taken control of most of Gaza, and Rafah is seen as one of the final pushes the country needs to make to secure a victory.

The Biden administration and the Israeli government have disagreed on how the war should be carried out and how long it should last, with Biden advocating for a shorter timeline and scaled-back operations. Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s relationship has become increasingly strained amid their disagreements.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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