Biden welcomes announcement of ceasefire between Israel and Hamas

US president reiterates commitment to supporting Israel’s ‘Iron dome’ rocket defencre system

US president Biden said he had spoken to Israeli prime minister Netanyahu to commended him "for the decision to bring the current hostilities to a close in less than 11 days” and that the US would work with the UN to provide humanitarian aid to Gaza. Video: Reuters

 

US president Joe Biden has welcomed the announcement of a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

In an address at the White House, Mr Biden said he had spoken to Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu and “commended him for the decision to bring the current hostilities to a close in less than 11 days”.

“The United States fully supports Israel’s right to defend itself,” he said, as he also thanked the Egyptian government for its role in negotiating the ceasefire.

Mr Biden also reiterated his commitment to supporting Israel’s “Iron dome” rocket defence system, amid calls from some Democrats for the White House to pause a $735 million arms sale to Israel. The United States provides close to $4 billion in military aid to Israel each year.

He added: “I believe the Palestinians and Israelis equally deserve to live safely and securely, and to enjoy equal measures of freedom, prosperity and democracy. My administration will continue our quiet, relentless diplomacy toward that end. I believe we have a genuine opportunity to make progress and I’m committed to working for it.”

While the United States has repeatedly blocked efforts by the UN Security Council to issue a joint statement, Mr Biden said that the US would work with the UN to provide humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza and Gaza reconstruction efforts. But he stressed that the US would work only with the Palestinian Authority, not Hamas.

At least 232 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip, including 65 children, and more than 1,700 people have been injured, according to Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry, since the conflict erupted at the start of last week.

Earlier in the day, Ireland’s ambassador to the United Nations Geraldine Byrne-Nason told the UN General Assembly in New York that the Irish government “roundly condemns attacks on innocent civilians. No cause, no objective justifies such loss of innocent life.”

At least 232 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip, including 65 children, and more than 1,700 people have been injured, according to Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry, since the conflict erupted at the start of last week.