A ceasefire in the war between Israel and Hamas will not bring peace, Joe Biden has said.
The US president said Hamas would merely exploit it to “rebuild their stockpile of rockets, reposition fighters and restart the killing by attacking innocents again”.
“As long as Hamas clings to its ideology of destruction, a ceasefire is not peace,” he wrote in an opinion article in the Washington Post.
According to Mr. Biden, Hamas established “terrorist tunnels beneath hospitals, schools, mosques, and residential buildings,” concealed “among Palestinian civilians,” and exploited “children and innocents as human shields.”
“If Hamas cared at all for Palestinian lives, it would release all the hostages, give up arms, and surrender the leaders and those responsible for October 7,” he said.
He proposed that a “revitalised” Palestinian Authority should govern Gaza and the West Bank after the war as one unit until a two-state solution can be definitively agreed upon.
Israel almost launched a pre-emptive strike against Hezbollah in southern Lebanon in the early days of its war against Hamas, it has been reported.
The Washington Post published claims that Israel “came close” to the attack because it feared its “disorientation” would be exploited by Iran and its proxies, of which Hezbollah is one.
David Ignatius, the article’s author, did not cite any specific sources but said he met defence minister Yoav Gallant and “nearly a dozen” IDF commanders in a recent visit to Israel.
Since the start of the war, there have been frequent cross-border clashes and attacks between Israel and Hezbollah.
Hamas does not know where some of the 240 hostages it seized in its October 7 terror attack are.
The terror group’s spokesperson said it has lost contact with some of the groups that are holding the hostages captive, Al Jazeera and The New Arab reported.
“The fate of the captives and those holding them is still unknown after we lost communication with them,” spokesperson Abu Obeida is quoted as saying.
He did not identify the number and names of the hostages whose whereabouts are unknown.
Following Joe Biden’s statement that the Palestinian Authority should oversee Gaza after the war, Benjamin Netanyahu criticised the organisation as “not fit” to govern.
The US president wrote in the Washington Post that the authority should govern Gaza and the West Bank as one unit until a permanent, two-state solution can be agreed.
But the Israeli prime minister hit back at the suggestion in a Saturday night press conference, saying the authority’s president, Mahmoud Abbas, has refused to condemn the October 7 massacre and a number of his ministers “are celebrating what happened.”
“It is impossible to put in Gaza a civil government that supports terrorism, encourages terrorism, finances terrorism and educates for terrorism,” Mr Netanyahu said.