South Asia and Beyond

Relief For Biden As Israel-Hamas Ceasefire Takes Effect

As a ceasefire was agreed upon by Israel and Hamas after 11 days of fighting, U.S. President Joe Biden played it both ways. While pledging humanitarian and reconstruction aid for Gaza, he also offered to replenish Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system at a time some fellow Democrats have demanded a rethink on U.S. arms sales to Israel.

Biden, who has been criticized for openly defending what he called Israel’s right to defend itself, made it clear that aid to Gaza would be in “partnership with the Palestinian Authority, not Hamas, in a manner that does not permit Hamas to simply restock its military arsenal”.

As part of the negotiations for the ceasefire, Biden spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu six times, including twice on Thursday, and once with Egyptian President Abel Fattah al-Sisi. The call with Sisi was the first time both leaders spoke since Biden took charge in January. Egypt has diplomatic ties with Israel and also maintains contacts with Hamas.