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Biden Anticipates Israel-Hamas War to Halt by Next Monday Following Cease-fire and Hostage Agreement


NEW YORK — On Monday, President Joe Biden expressed his hope for a​ cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, which would halt the ongoing conflict ‌and facilitate the release of remaining hostages. He anticipates this could ⁢be achieved by the start of next week.

When questioned about the‍ potential timeline for a cease-fire, Biden responded, ‍”I’m optimistic that we could see a cease-fire by the weekend. My national security adviser ⁣has informed‌ me that we’re on the brink of achieving this. However, we’re not quite there yet. My aspiration is that by next Monday, we’ll have a cease-fire in place.”

Biden made these comments in New York, following his appearance on NBC’s “Late Night With Seth ‍Meyers.”

Currently,‍ negotiations are in progress⁤ for a cease-fire that would last several weeks between Israel and Hamas.⁤ This would allow for the release of hostages held ​in Gaza by the militant group, in exchange for Israel freeing ⁢hundreds of Palestinian prisoners. The proposed‍ six-week pause in hostilities would also ‌permit hundreds of ‍trucks to deliver much-needed aid into Gaza daily.

Negotiators are working against an unofficial deadline of the start ⁢of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan around March 10, a time that often witnesses escalated‌ Israeli-Palestinian tensions.

Expansion of Ground Operation

Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch reported on ⁣Monday that Israel has not complied with an order from the United Nations’ top court to provide urgently needed aid ‍to the desperate population in the Gaza Strip. This comes a month after a significant ruling in The Hague, which instructed Israel to moderate its war.

In response to a South African petition accusing Israel of genocide, the U.N.’s top court ordered‌ Israel to do everything within its power to prevent death, destruction, and any acts of genocide in the small Palestinian enclave. However, it did not order an end to the military offensive that has resulted in a humanitarian crisis.

Israel refutes these allegations, asserting that it is acting in ⁤self-defense.

As the ⁢war enters‌ its fifth month, Israel is preparing to ​extend its ground operation into Rafah, ​Gaza’s southernmost town along the border ⁣with Egypt. This is where 1.4 million Palestinians have sought refuge.

On Monday morning, the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that the army had presented its operational plan ⁣for Rafah to⁣ the War Cabinet, along with plans to evacuate civilians⁣ from the battle zones. No further details were provided.

The⁣ situation ​in Rafah has sparked international concern. Israel’s allies have cautioned that it must safeguard civilians in its fight against the Hamas militant group.

‘Urgently Needed Basic⁢ Services’

On Monday, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh tendered his government’s resignation. President Mahmoud Abbas is expected to appoint‍ technocrats in accordance with U.S. demands for internal reform. The U.S.⁢ has called for a revitalized Palestinian Authority to govern postwar Gaza, with the ultimate goal of‍ statehood — a scenario rejected by Israel.

In its ruling on Jan. 26, the International Court of⁤ Justice ordered Israel to adhere to six provisional measures. These include taking “immediate⁢ and effective measures to enable the provision of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance” to Gaza.

Israel ​is also required to submit a report ⁤detailing its compliance with these measures within a‌ month. The Israeli Foreign Ministry stated late on Monday that​ it has submitted such ⁢a‍ report,⁣ but declined ⁢to share ‍or ​discuss its contents.

Israel reported that 245 trucks of aid entered Gaza on Sunday, which is less than half the daily amount that entered before the war.

Human Rights Watch, citing U.N. figures, highlighted⁣ a 30% decrease in the daily average number of aid trucks ‌entering‌ Gaza in the weeks following the court’s ruling. It stated that⁣ between Jan. 27 and ​Feb. 21, the daily average of trucks entering was⁣ 93, compared ​to 147​ trucks a day in the three weeks before the ruling. The daily average dropped to 57, between Feb. 9 and 21, according‍ to the figures.

The rights group accused Israel of not‍ adequately⁢ facilitating fuel ⁢deliveries to the severely affected northern Gaza and blamed Israel for preventing aid from reaching the north. This is where the World Food Program announced last week that it was compelled to ⁢suspend aid‌ deliveries.

“The Israeli ​government has simply disregarded the court’s ruling, and in some ways, even intensified its repression,” said Omar Shakir, Israel and Palestine director at Human Rights Watch.

The Association of International Development Agencies, a coalition​ of ​over⁣ 70 humanitarian organizations working in Gaza and⁤ the West Bank, reported that almost no aid had reached areas in Gaza north of Rafah since the court’s ruling.

Israel denies that it is restricting the entry of aid and instead blames⁣ humanitarian organizations operating in Gaza. It claims​ that large aid shipments remain idle on the Palestinian side of the main crossing. The⁢ U.N. ⁤counters that‍ it can’t always reach the crossing because it is sometimes too dangerous.

In some instances, desperate Palestinians have surrounded delivery trucks and stripped them of supplies. The ​U.N. has urged Israel to open more crossings, including in the north,⁣ and to improve‌ the process.

Netanyahu’s office announced⁤ that the⁢ War Cabinet had approved a plan to safely deliver humanitarian aid into Gaza in a ⁢manner that would “prevent cases of looting.” No further details were disclosed.

‘What Did We Do to Deserve This?’

The ‍war, which was initiated after Hamas-led militants wreaked havoc across southern Israel,​ killing 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and taking approximately 250 people​ hostage,‌ has ​caused immense devastation in Gaza.

Close to 30,000 people have been killed in Gaza,‌ two-thirds of whom ​are women and children, according‍ to the Gaza Health Ministry, which does not differentiate​ in its count between fighters⁢ and noncombatants. Israel claims it has killed 10,000 militants, without providing evidence.

The conflict has decimated large areas of Gaza’s urban landscape, displacing ​about 80% of the territory’s 2.3 million people, who have crowded into increasingly smaller spaces in search of elusive safety.

The crisis has pushed a quarter ​of the population towards starvation and raised​ fears ​of an imminent ⁢famine, particularly in the⁣ northern part of⁣ Gaza, the initial focus of Israel’s ground invasion. Starving residents have been forced to eat animal fodder and search for food in demolished buildings.

“I ‍wish death for the children because I cannot get them bread. I cannot ‌feed them. I cannot feed my own ‌children!” cried Naim Abouseido as he waited for‌ aid in Gaza City. “What did we do to deserve this?”

Bushra Khalidi from the U.K. ⁣aid organization⁣ Oxfam told the Associated Press that it had confirmed reports of children dying of starvation ⁣in the north in recent weeks. This suggests that ‍aid is not being scaled up despite the court ruling.

Aid groups report that deliveries continue to be hampered by⁤ security issues. ‌The ⁣French aid groups Médecins du Monde and Doctors Without Borders⁢ each reported that their‌ facilities were hit by Israeli forces in the weeks following the court order.

Truth Media Network
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