May 20, 2021 - World

Biden on Gaza ceasefire: Israelis, Palestinians "equally deserve" safety and security

President Biden commended the newly approved ceasefire between Israel and Hamas during a speech at the White House Thursday, noting Israelis and Palestinians deserve "equal measures of freedom, prosperity and democracy."

Zoom out: Israel and Hamas approved a ceasefire deal on Thursday that is expected to take effect at 2am on Friday (local time), after 11 days of fighting.

  • Both sides have sent mixed messages about the terms of the agreement.
  • At least 232 Palestinians have been killed in the recent conflict, including 65 children, per Gaza health authorities, and 12 people, including two children, have been killed in Israel.
  • The Biden administration faced criticism for refusing to call for a ceasefire sooner, but in the last few days, the administration ramped up pressure on Israel to end the conflict.

Of note: Biden said he had spoken to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu six times during the crisis, as well as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and leaders of the Palestinian Authority. Biden also expressed gratitude to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi for his role in the negotiations.

What he's saying: Biden pledged his support for Israel's right to defend itself and said the U.S. would help replenish the nation's Iron Dome defense system. He also signaled his willingness to work with the Palestinian Authority in the future.

  • Biden praised the ceasefire, saying he sees "genuine opportunity" for progress to achieve peace in the region.
  • "I send my sincere condolences to all the families, Israeli and Palestinian, who have lost loved ones and my hope for a full recovery for the wounded."
  • "The United States is committed to working with the United Nations and we remain committed to working with the United Nations and other international stakeholders to provide rapid humanitarian assistance ... for the people of Gaza and the Gaza reconstruction efforts."
  • "We will do this in full partnership with the Palestinian Authority, not Hamas, the Authority, in a manner that does not permit Hamas to simply restock its military arsenal."
  • "I believe the Palestinians and Israelis equally deserve to live safely and securely and to enjoy equal measures of freedom, prosperity and democracy."
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