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Biden administration urged immediate Gaza ceasefire for first time

Biden administration urged immediate Gaza ceasefire for first time Photo: US President Joe Biden (Getty Images)

European Union leaders managed internal divisions and called for an "immediate humanitarian pause leading to a sustainable ceasefire" in Gaza, just hours before the expected US resolution vote at the UN urging a ceasefire and agreement on hostage release, reports The Guardian.

The EU declaration adopted at the Brussels summit on Thursday marked the first since October regarding the Middle East. The US draft resolution, which will be voted on in the UN Security Council on Friday, reflects Washington's urgent position. This marks the first instance of the Biden administration calling for an "immediate ceasefire."

It is expected that CIA and Mossad intelligence chiefs will arrive in Qatar on Friday to broker a ceasefire for hostages between Israel and Hamas. Speaking in Egypt, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken emphasized that there is still much work to be done but he "continues to believe it’s possible."

The EU declaration calls on Hamas to "unconditional release of all hostages," but does not tie its demands to Israel's cessation of military operations. In Brussels, European Council President Charles Michel stated that all 27 EU countries agreed on "a strong and unified statement on the Middle East," urging "full and safe humanitarian access into Gaza."

Blinken described the US draft resolution as a call for "an immediate ceasefire tied to the release of hostages."

"After many rounds of consultations with the Security Council, we will be bringing this resolution for a vote on Friday morning," said U.S. Mission spokesperson to the UN Nate Evans, noting that it had been discussed by Council members for several weeks.

War between Israel and Hamas

The conflict between Israel and Hamas escalated on October 7, 2023, when Hamas launched an attack on Israel. Subsequently, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) initiated a ground military operation in the Gaza Strip.

On February 8, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that "Israel's full victory in Gaza is imminent." He also announced the readiness of the IDF to commence a ground invasion of the city of Rafah in southern Gaza.

On Tuesday, March 12, a Hamas representative stated that the group was adopting a modified version of the U.S. proposal for a ceasefire in Gaza. Hamas representatives intended to travel to Cairo in the coming days to discuss final details and implementation of the agreement.

However, on March 13, the Israel Defense Forces struck the central food distribution center in the eastern part of Rafah. One person was killed, and 22 were injured as a result. The IDF reported the elimination of a Hamas commander.

According to the UN, the level of hunger in the Gaza Strip began to catastrophically rise. From March to mid-July, with the conflict escalating, it is expected that half of the region's population (1.11 million people) will face critical food insecurity conditions, as stated in the IPC report.