Despite reports that it was Egypt that brokered the cease-fire Thursday between Israel and Hamas, President Joe Biden tried to take credit.
Hamas has fired more than 4,000 rockets into Israel over the past 11 days in response to a clash between Israeli police and Palestinian protesters, and the IDF struck back with devastating airstrikes.
Biden, speaking at the White House, included a sentence in his remarks commending Egyptian officials for their “critical role” in ending the fighting. But he repeatedly emphasized the intensive work he said was done by his own administration.
“Over the last 11 days, I spoke with the prime minister six times. I’ve also spoken with President Abbas and the Palestinian Authority more the once and part of our intense diplomatic engagement,” Biden said, “And I want to also thank secretary of state, the secretary of defense, our national security adviser, and everyone on our team for their incredible efforts to bring this about, this outcome that we’re about to see.
“You know, we’ve held intensive, high-level discussions, hour by hour, literally, Egypt, the Palestinian Authority and other Middle Eastern countries, with an aim of avoiding this sort of prolonged conflict we’ve seen in previous years when the hostilities have broken out.”
Biden promised to help Israel replenish its Iron Dome system and to work with the Palestinian Authority to rebuild Gaza.
Biden said he’d spoken with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the cease-fire and commended him on his decision to bring hostilities to a close.
“The United States fully supports Israel’s right to defend itself against indiscriminate rocket attacks from Hamas,” Biden said.
Biden said the prime minister had also shared his appreciation for the Iron Dome system, Israel’s missile defense that was built with help from the U.S. Biden said the system “has saved the lives of countless Israeli citizens, Arab and Jew.
“I assured him of my full support to replenish Israel’s Iron Dome system to ensure its defenses and security in the future,” Biden said.
Biden said he’d also spoken with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who is a member of the Fatah Party rather than Hamas.
“I send my sincere condolences to all the families, Israeli and Palestinian, who have lost loved ones and my hope for a full recovery for the wounded,” he continued. “The United States committed to working with the United Nations, and 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 Gaza reconstruction efforts.”
“We will do this in full partnership with the Palestinian Authority, not Hamas, Palestinian Authority, in a manner that does not permit Hamas to simply restock its military arsenal.”
The deadly fighting that erupted after heightened tensions left at least 12 Israelis and 230 Palestinians dead in the crossfire in the worst breakout of violence since the 2014 Gaza war, according to reports.