Biden vows to continue ‘quiet diplomacy’ with Israel, Palestine
Washington, May 20 (EFE).- United States president Joe Biden vowed late Thursday to continue with his “quiet and relentless diplomacy” with Israel and Palestine, after announcing a cease-fire deal had been reached between the government of Benjamin Netanyahu and the Islamist movement Hamas.
“I believe the Palestinians and Israelis equally deserve to live safely and securely and to enjoy equal measures of freedom, prosperity, and democracy,” Biden said in a televised address.
“My administration will continue our quiet and relentless diplomacy toward that end. I believe we have a genuine opportunity to make progress, and I’m committed to working for it.”
Israel and Hamas announced a bilateral truce that halted 11 days of escalating warfare that began at 2 am local time on Friday (23:00 GMT Thursday), just over an hour after Biden’s announcement.
The US president said that Washington had held “intensive high-level discussions, hour by hour” with Egypt, the Palestinian National Authority and other Middle Eastern countries with the aim of achieving the truce.
Specifically, he recognized the Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, and his senior officials in this diplomatic work.
He said that over the past 11 days he has spoken six times with Netanyahu, with whom he has pledged to rearm Israel’s missile defense system, known as the Iron Dome, to ensure its “defenses and security in the future.”
Biden has throughout the conflict repeatedly emphasized Israel’s right to defend itself against rocket attacks, as he did again Thursday in his speech.
The US president has been subjected in past days to pressure from members of the Democratic Party, who for the first time in decades have broken with their policy of support for Israel.
Palestinian-born congresswoman Rashida Tlaib approached Biden on a Michigan airport tarmac Tuesday to tell him that his status quo strategy wasn’t working.
A day later, Biden told Netanyahu Wednesday he expected a “significant de-escalation today on the path to a ceasefire.”
The 11 days of conflict have cost the lives of 232 Palestinians, including 65 minors, in addition to 1,900 injured. In Israel, 12 people have died, including two minors, and more than 340 have been injured. EFE