Biden hopes for ceasefire by next Monday as delegation heads to Qatar for talks

Reports indicate that a military delegation from Israel has traveled to Qatar for intensive negotiations aimed at establishing a ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas. The talks, mediated by Egypt, Qatar, and the United States, are intended to implement a six-week pause in fighting to allow aid into Gaza, where the population is said to be on the brink of famine.

The proposed agreement also includes the release of dozens of captives held by Hamas in Gaza, in exchange for the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

Speaking to reporters in New York on Monday, United States President Joe Biden expressed his hope for a ceasefire to take effect by the end of the weekend or beginning of the next week.

When asked about the efforts to end the conflict, Biden stated that Israel has agreed to halt military activities in Gaza during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which is set to begin on March 10 and end on April 9.

The US leader also warned that Israel risks losing international support due to the high death toll among Palestinians and emphasized that the "only way Israel ultimately survives is to reach a deal that gives 'peace and security for Israelis and Palestinians.'"

It is worth noting that Biden's comments could be aimed at voters in the state of Michigan, which is set to hold presidential primaries on Tuesday.

Many Arab and Muslim American voters in Michigan have publicly announced their decision to vote "uncommitted" on their ballots in protest of Biden's support for Israel.

Culhane, reporting from Washington, DC, noted that Biden's comments could be interpreted as a message to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, implying that if a ceasefire does not occur by Monday, the president would have looked publicly embarrassed by him.

She suggested that Biden's comments may also be aimed at influencing voters in Michigan, where many Arab and Muslim Americans, as well as young people of various backgrounds, have voiced dissatisfaction with Biden's support for Israel.

The latest developments come a day after Biden's National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan stated that representatives from Israel, Egypt, Qatar, and the United States discussed the terms of a ceasefire deal in Paris over the weekend.

According to Sullivan, the representatives concluded "an understanding" about the contours of such an agreement.

It is important to note that Hamas, which has its political office in Doha, was not involved in the Paris talks.

On Monday, Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani met with Hamas's political leader Ismail Haniyeh to discuss efforts to reach an "immediate and durable ceasefire agreement in the Gaza Strip."

Haniyeh expressed Hamas's support for mediated efforts and criticized Israel for exacerbating the crisis in Gaza, stating that "the Israeli occupation is the reason behind the exacerbation of the situation and the siege and the genocide against our people in Gaza."

Despite the ongoing negotiations, Israel continues to assert publicly that it will not end its military operation in Gaza until Hamas is eradicated and that its planned assault on the southern Gaza city of Rafah will continue even if a ceasefire deal is reached.

Read more