Biden Admin Edited Harsher Language Out Of Kamala Harris’ ‘Immediate Ceasefire’ Speech Before Delivery: REPORT

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The original draft of Vice President Kamala Harris’ Sunday speech calling for a ceasefire in Gaza was originally much more critical of Israel before it was toned down, several U.S. officials told NBC News.

Harris said on Sunday that there was a need for an “immediate ceasefire” in the Israel-Hamas war for at least the next six weeks so that the remaining hostages in Gaza can be freed. The original draft of Harris’ speech reportedly contained sections with harsher language toward Israel on the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and the urgent need for aid to be delivered to the region, one current and a former official told NBC. (RELATED: Kirby Gets Heated With Reporter Who Suggests US Funding Both Sides Of Gaza War)

Harris’ original speech also reportedly called out Israel regarding the needed increase of aid shipment via trucks across the Gaza border, two U.S. officials told NBC. Harris’ office denied that her speech was toned down to be less harsh, saying such claims were “inaccurate.”

“The Vice President felt it was important to address the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza, given recent developments, and to reiterate our Administration’s call on Hamas to accept the terms of the hostage deal,” Kirsten Allen, Harris’ communications director, told NBC.

The draft was sent to the National Security Council (NSC) for review, which is standard procedure for foreign policy-related speeches and announcements, several U.S. officials told NBC. Officials made edits up until the last minute before Harris delivered the speech at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, for the commemoration of the 59th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday, a day in which civil rights activists were assaulted by police officers.

Harris decided to bring up the Israel-Hamas war during her speech after President Joe Biden addressed a ceasefire deal days prior, an official working for Harris told NBC.

“Given the immense scale of suffering in Gaza, there must be an immediate ceasefire, for at least the next six weeks, which is what is currently on the table,” Harris said during her speech. “Hamas claims it wants a ceasefire. Well, there is a deal on the table. And as we have said, Hamas needs to agree to that deal. Let’s get a ceasefire. Let’s reunite the hostages with their families. And let’s provide immediate relief to the people of Gaza.”

Israel is currently negotiating a temporary ceasefire deal with Hamas through U.S. Egyptian and Qatari mediators, according to The Washington Post. The current proposal reportedly involves a six-week ceasefire and the release of several Palestinian prisoners, as well as the delivery of aid to Gaza, in exchange for the release of the more “vulnerable” hostages in Hamas captivity, such as women, elderly and medically compromised individuals.

Israel has chosen not to send a delegation to Egypt for negotiations this week until Hamas can provide the number of hostages in captivity and their identities, according to the Washington Post.

“The framework is there,” a Biden administration senior official said during a background press call on Saturday. “The Israelis have basically signed on to the elements of the arrangement. And right now, the ball is in the court of Hamas.”

The start of Ramadan on March 10 is seen as the unofficial deadline to secure a temporary ceasefire deal. Israeli officials have warned they will begin a ground assault in Rafah, the southernmost city of Gaza, if a deal isn’t reached by then.

The NSC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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