US team in Cairo pushing hard for immediate ceasefire in Gaza: Biden

Amr Kandil , Wednesday 3 Apr 2024

President Joe Biden said on Wednesday a US team is currently in Cairo pushing hard for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza as part of a deal to release the Israelis held in Gaza.

Biden
President Joe Biden speaks. Photo: AP

 

President Biden has mourned, in a post on X, the deaths of seven humanitarian workers from the World Central Kitchen (WCK), including one American, in an Israeli airstrike.

“This conflict has been one of the worst in recent memory in terms of how many aid workers have been killed,” Biden said.

"This is a major reason why distributing humanitarian aid in Gaza has been so difficult – because Israel has not done enough to protect aid workers trying to deliver desperately needed help to civilians … Israel has also not done enough to protect civilians,” Biden added.

He emphasized that the US has repeatedly urged Israel to "deconflict their operations against Hamas with humanitarian operations" to avoid human casualties.

Biden also said the US is doing all that it can to deliver aid to Palestinians in Gaza along with pushing for an immediate ceasefire.

His remarks came after Israel stated on Tuesday that mediators under “useful” Egyptian mediation have formulated an updated proposal to be presented to Hamas.

The Israeli government said negotiators from the intelligence agencies Mossad and Shin Bet as well as the Israeli army have returned to Israel following the conclusion of an intensive round of talks in Cairo.

Israel said it expects the mediators to push Hamas more forcefully toward a deal.

Indirect talks to reach a truce restarted in Cairo on Sunday, a few days after the UN Security Council adopted a resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza during Ramadan.

However, Israel has continued its war in Gaza, defying global pressures, while Eid Al-Fitr, the Muslim feast marking the end of Ramadan, is only a week away.

Hamas has clung to its demands of a permanent ceasefire, a full withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza, and the return of the displaced Palestinians to the northern strip.

Israel has called these demands “delusional.”

Means to ceasefire
 

In recent weeks, negotiators from Egypt, Qatar, and the United States have held several rounds of negotiations in Paris, Doha, and Cairo to reach a ceasefire and a prisoner swap agreement.

The Israeli war on Gaza has killed almost 33,000 people and injured more than 75,000 since 7 October.

It has also destroyed several homes and infrastructure in the strip, leaving many of its 2.4 million civilian population on the brink of famine.

A ceasefire has become direly urgent as Israel is planning to invade Rafah city, home to around 1.5 million people, mostly displaced by the war.

Many countries have warned against the “catastrophic” humanitarian consequences of such an invasion, calling for an immediate ceasefire agreement.

On Monday, France proposed to the Security Council a draft resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza as well as immediate and unconditional release of all captives in the strip.

The resolution, seen by Ahram Online, also condemned Hamas’ 7 October operation in Israel.

In addition, the international community has been pressing toward the implementation of a two-state solution and establishing an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel – which the draft resolution presented by France also supports. 

 

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