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Biden: US working on Gaza truce of at least six weeks

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US President Joe Biden said on Monday that the US is working to negotiate a Gaza truce of “at least six weeks”.

Speaking at a press conference alongside King Abdullah II of Jordan, Biden reiterated that October 7 “was the deadliest day for the Jewish people since the Holocaust” and noted that 134 hostages still remain in Gaza and that their families “don’t know how many are still alive.”

The President added that the US shares Israel’s goal of defeating Hamas but also said that the Palestinian Arab people “have also suffered unimaginable pain and loss.”

“Too many of the over 27,000 Palestinians killed in this conflict have been innocent civilians, including thousands of children,” said Biden. “Hundreds of thousands have no access to food, water other basic services. Many families have lost not just one but many relatives and cannot mourn for them, Even bury them as it is not safe to do so. It’s heartbreaking.”

He stated that he has been working “to find the means to bring all these hostages home, to ease the humanitarian crisis and to end the terror threat, and to bring peace to Gaza and Israel, enduring peace with a two-state solution for two peoples.”

“As the King and I discussed today, the United States is working on a hostage deal between Israel and Hamas which would bring an immediate and sustained period of calm to Gaza, for at least six weeks, which we could then take the time to build something more enduring,” added the President.

Biden also said that “the key elements of the deal are on the table. There are gaps that remain, but I’ve encouraged Israeli leaders to keep working to achieve the deal. The United States will do everything possible to make it happen.”

Commenting on a planned Israeli military operation in southern Gaza, Biden said that “the major military operation in Rafah should not proceed without a credible plan for ensuring the safety and support of more than one million people sheltering there. Many people have been displaced, multiple times, fleeing the violence in the north. Now, they’re packed into Rafah, exposed and vulnerable. They need to be protected. We have also been clear from the start we oppose any forced displacement of Palestinians from Gaza.”

King Abdullah, in his remarks, reiterated Jordan’s position that Judea and Samaria and Gaza cannot be separated.

“One of the most devastating wars in recent history continues to unfold in Gaza,” he added. “Nearly 100,000 people have been killed, injured or missing – the majority women and children. We cannot afford an Israeli attack on Rafah. It is certain to produce another humanitarian catastrophe. the situation is already unbearable for over a million people.”

The King urged the international community to address the humanitarian aid crisis in Gaza and called for the resumption of funding for UNRWA, the UN agency for “Palestinian refugees”.

“No other un agency can do what UNRWA is doing. Its work in other areas, especially in Jordan, where 2.3 million are registered, is also vital. It is imperative UNRWA receives the support it needs to carry out its mandate,” he stated.

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