President Biden said his administration is working on facilitating a hostage deal between Israel and Hamas that would bring a halt to the fighting in the Gaza Strip ‘for at least six weeks,’ during his remarks Monday at the White House alongside King Abdullah II of Jordan.
Biden met with the Jordanian monarch to discuss the ongoing war between Israel and the terror group as well as how to bring about a peace agreement between the Jewish state and Palestinian leaders. The two leaders met before addressing reporters at the White House Cross Hall with prepared remarks.
‘The key elements of the deal are on the table. There are gaps that remain,’ said Biden. ‘But I’ve encouraged Israeli leaders to keep working to achieve the deal.’
Biden and the king also discussed Israel’s military offensive in Rafah, a city in southern Gaza. He said the operation should not occur without a credible plan for ensuring the safety and support of more than one million Palestinians sheltering there who are ‘exposed and vulnerable.’
‘We cannot afford an Israeli attack on Rafah,’ the king said. ‘It is certain to produce another humanitarian catastrophe.’
On Monday, Israel said two Israeli hostages – Fernando Marman, 60, and Louis Har, 70being held in Rafah were rescued.
‘The hostages … were held captive in harsh conditions. They were intentionally held in the middle of a civilian neighborhood inside a civilian building to try to prevent us from rescuing them. But we did,’ IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari said in a video message. ‘Fernando Marmon and Luis Har are now home in Israel. They have undergone medical examination and have been reunited with their families.’
Biden noted that a Palestinian state could create conditions for Israel to have long-term peace with its Arab neighbors and long-lasting security.
‘That effort was underway before the Oct. 7 attacks,’ Biden said. ‘It’s even more urgent today.’
Israel has proposed a two-state solution to Palestinian leaders in the past, which have all have been rejected.
Abdullah said issues between Israel and the Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem must also be addressed, including the expansion of Israeli settlements and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, where he said Muslim worshipers have not been allowed to enter.
‘Seven decades of occupation, death and destruction have proven beyond any doubt that there can be no peace without a political device,’ he said.