Biden and Guterres welcome Israel-Palestine ceasefire
Israel and Hamas agreed to a ceasefire on Thursday, halting a bruising 11-day war that caused widespread destruction in the Gaza Strip. Following the news, US President Joe Biden said that both Palestinians and Israelis equally deserve security, to live safely, and to enjoy equal measures of freedom, prosperity, and democracy. UN chief Antonio Guterres also welcomed the ceasefire.
A genuine opportunity to make progress: Biden
"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," Biden said on Thursday at the White House.
Guterres expressed condolences to war victims
Meanwhile, Guterres stressed that Israeli and Palestinian leaders have a responsibility beyond the restoration of calm to start a "serious dialogue" to address the root causes of the conflict. "I welcome the ceasefire between Gaza and Israel... I extend my deepest condolences to the victims of the violence and their loved ones," Guterres said as the ceasefire was announced.
'Working to provide rapid humanitarian assistance to people of Gaza'
Biden said the US is committed to working with the UN to provide rapid humanitarian assistance for the people of Gaza. "We remain committed to working with the United Nations and other international stakeholders to provide rapid humanitarian assistance and to marshal international support for the people of Gaza and the Gazan reconstruction efforts," he said.
US fully supports Israel's right to defend itself: Biden
Biden said that he spoke to Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and "commended him for the decision to bring the current hostilities to a close in less than 11 days." He further told Netanyahu that the US "fully supports Israel's right to defend itself against indiscriminate rocket attacks from Hamas and other Gaza-based terrorist groups that have taken the lives of innocent civilians in Israel."
Important to stabilize the ceasefire: Guterres
Responding to a question on what the next steps should be, Guterres said it is important to stabilize the ceasefire. "It will be very important to have a robust program of humanitarian aid and recovery for Gaza. And I think it will be very important to revitalize the peace process, to restart the peace process in order to have a two-State solution," Guterres said.
Clashes at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound triggered the war
The fighting began on May 10, when Hamas militants in Gaza fired long-range rockets toward Jerusalem after days of clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli police at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, a flashpoint site that is known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as the Temple Mount. At least 230 Palestinians, including 65 children and 39 women, died in the conflict.