For the first time of the Israel-Gaza war, which is fast approaching the one month mark, President Joe Biden has expressed support for a stoppage in fighting. He is calling for a proposed humanitarian “pause” at a moment Washington is still trying to evacuate all US passport holders from the Gaza Strip.
Starting yesterday, the Rafah border crossing into Egypt was open to foreigners and wounded Palestinians for the first time of the war. This was described as the result of a delicate deal between Israel, Egypt, Qatar – and involving US pressure. Dual nationals from many countries have been seeking to escape the bombings and fighting.
CBS describes in a fresh report, “Hundreds of Americans who were trapped in Gaza appeared set to leave the war-torn territory on Thursday as foreign nationals continued to cross over the Rafah border crossing into Egypt after it opened to them for the first time since the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks on Israel.”
“A list released by Gaza’s Hamas-controlled Interior Ministry had the names of 400 American nationals who were approved to cross over the border on Thursday,” according to the report. The U.S. State Department estimates that there are around 400 Americans stuck in Gaza.
President Biden had said in a campaign speech on Wednesday, “I think we need a pause” as it is “time to get the prisoners out” – these latter words being a reference to the some 240 hostages held by Hamas (Israel has on multiple times updated this estimate as more information was confirmed).
His speech at the event in Minnesota had been briefly interrupted by a Jewish activist calling for ceasefire…
This is the moment US President Biden is interrupted at a campaign event in Minnesota by a rabbi demanding a ceasefire in Gaza.
— Sky News (@SkyNews) November 2, 2023
Thus far the White House has resisted international calls for pressuring Israel to agree to a ceasefire. Biden is still rejecting a full-on ceasefire. Last week White House national security council spokesman John Kirby made this clear. But Biden’s top diplomat Antony Blinken is expected to push for the humanitarian pause in meetings with Israeli officials…
- BLINKEN TO PRESS ISRAEL FOR PAUSES IN WAR AGAINST HAMAS: NYT
- US TO URGE ISRAEL TO AGREE TO SERIES OF BRIEF CESSATIONS: NYT
“We’re not drawing red lines for Israel,” he had said at the time. “We’re going to continue to support them.” Last Friday the US was among only 14 “no” votes on a UN General Assembly resolution which formally called for a ceasefire. As of Thursday, the death toll in Gaza has surpassed 9,000 killed, mostly civilians.