Gaza ceasefire before Ramadan 'looking tough', says Joe Biden

9 March 2024, 09:19

A ceasefire before the end of the week is "looking tough"
A ceasefire before the end of the week is "looking tough". Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Securing a ceasefire in Gaza before Ramadan is "looking tough", US president Joe Biden has said.

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Speaking at a campaign stop in suburban Philadelphia on Friday, Mr Biden said an agreement before Sunday - when the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins - was going to be difficult.

He also said that he was worried about violence spreading to east Jerusalem.

It comes after US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said it was up to Hamas to move talks along.

"The ball is in their court," he said.

"We're working intensely on it, and we'll see what they do."

Mr Blinken said the US is "intensely focused" on securing a ceasefire deal.

Read more: Israel 'blocking aid getting into Gaza', Tory foreign affairs committee chief claims, as food begins to run out

Read more: Europe must contain wars in Ukraine and Gaza before next US president is sworn in, David Cameron warns

Officials gathered in Egypt earlier in the week to negotiate, but Hamas left on Thursday without a deal.

Hamas officials are said to have demanded military withdrawal from Gaza along with stepped-up humanitarian aid.

Meanwhile, Israel wants a full list of hostages that are still alive as well as the release of some of those remaining from the October 7 attacks.

A widening humanitarian crisis across Gaza and tight Israeli control of aid lorries have left virtually the entire population desperately short of food, according to the United Nations.

Officials have been warning for months that Israel's siege and offensive were pushing the Palestinian territory into famine.

In his State Of The Union address, Mr Biden called on the Israelis to do more to alleviate the suffering even as they try to eliminate Hamas.

"To Israel, I say this humanitarian assistance cannot be a secondary consideration or a bargaining chip," he said.

The president announced in his speech that the US military would help establish a temporary pier aimed at boosting the amount of aid getting into the territory.

It comes after the US military began air dropping aid into Gaza last week.

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