Biden Claims Israel Will Halt ‘Operations’ During Ramadan as Part of Truce

Biden Claims Israel Will Halt ‘Operations’ During Ramadan as Part of Truce

During an interview with NBC, Joe Biden announced that the Israelis have agreed not to carry out military operations during Ramadan, allowing time for the release of hostages held by the Palestinian Islamist movement. The upcoming Ramadan has been seen as a crucial period for the resolution of the ongoing conflict.

The US has been ramping up pressure for a resolution in the recent days. The US President even expressed his hope on Monday for a ceasefire in Gaza by the following Monday.

The mediator countries – Qatar, Egypt, and the US, are still in the process of negotiating a compromise between the involved parties. As per a Hamas insider, talks are centered around the first phase of a plan drafted in January by the mediators. This plan includes a six-week truce, the release of Palestinian hostages and prisoners, and the allowance of a significant amount of humanitarian aid into Gaza.

An anonymous Israeli official has reportedly told the Ynet site that the progress towards an agreement is looking “positive.”

However, there are still significant disagreements. Israel is insisting on the release of all hostages during the truce and has stated that a truce would not signify the end of the conflict. They have even threatened an attack on Rafah even if an agreement is reached. On the other hand, Hamas is demanding a full ceasefire, Israeli troop withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and the lifting of the blockade imposed by Israel since 2007.

The truce will likely be a key point of discussion between Emmanuel Macron and the Emir of Qatar, Tamim ben Hamad Al-Thani, during their meeting in Paris on Tuesday. The meeting is part of a two-day state visit and comes at a time when Qatar plays a significant role in the hostage issue and peace talks with Hamas.

As per Qatar’s official news agency, the emir recently met with Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of Hamas, in Doha. The talks were focused on reaching an immediate and permanent ceasefire agreement.

Meanwhile, the UN Secretary General cautioned on Monday that if an attack is launched on the heavily populated town of Rafah, which Israel intends to evacuate in order to defeat Hamas, it would bring an end to humanitarian aid programs in the Gaza Strip. Antonio Guterres warned that such an offensive would not only be horrifying for the Palestinian civilians sheltering there, but it would also mark the end of the aid programs.