WASHINGTON - U.S. President Joe Biden said Thursday that he commended Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his decision to bring the violence in Gaza to a close, after confirming with both Israel and Egypt that both parties agreed to a mutual, unconditional cease-fire.
Biden reaffirmed the U.S. belief that Israel has the right to defend itself, adding that it will fully replenish the Iron Dome missile defense system.
Biden said he spoke with Netanyahu six times over the past 11 days, as well as with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as part of America's "intense, diplomatic engagement."
He also thanked U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan for their "incredible efforts" in bringing about this outcome after "hour-by-hour" high-level discussions alongside Egypt, the Palestinian Authority and other Middle Eastern States in a bid to "avoid the sort of prolonged conflict we've seen in previous years."
Biden praised Egypt President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi and the Egyptian government, in particular, for playing a critical role in diplomacy.
"These hostilities have resulted in tragic deaths of so many civilians, including children. I send my sincere condolences to all the families, Israeli and Palestinians, who have lost loved ones, and I hope for a full recovery for the wounded," he said.
Biden said the U.S. is committed to working with the United Nations and other international stakeholders to provide rapid humanitarian assistance for Palestinians in Gaza, as well as Gaza reconstruction efforts.
- Biden is wasting his precious time on Israel-Palestine, and that can't make him happy
- Gaza flare-up: Biden tells Netanyahu he expects immediate 'significant de-escalation'
- Hamas chief: We will continue fighting until Al-Aqsa mosque is liberated
"We will do this in full partnership with the Palestinian Authority in a way that does not permit Hamas to simply restock its military arsenal," he said, reiterating the administration's policy that Palestinians and Israelis equally deserve to live safely and securly while enjoying equal measures of freedom, prosperity and democracy.