US president’s comments came after US Air Force soldier died after setting himself on fire outside Israeli embassy

US President Joe Biden speaks at a black-tie dinner for US governors attending the National Governors Association winter meeting, at the White House in Washington, US, February 24, 2024. — Reuters

United States President Joe Biden expressed his belief that a temporary ceasefire between Israel and Hamas could begin by next Monday in a spontaneous statement he made during a visit to New York, The Guardian reported.

In response to reporters inquiring about when he expected a ceasefire could start, Biden said: “My national security adviser tells me that we’re close. We’re close. We’re not done yet. My hope is by next Monday, we’ll have a ceasefire.”

Biden made the comments after taping an appearance on NBC’s ‘Late Night with Seth Meyers’.

Over the weekend, Israel’s war cabinet approved a deal to halt fighting for several weeks in exchange for the release of hostages in Gaza. 

Negotiations are ongoing between Israel and Hamas, with Egypt, Qatar, the United States and France acting as go-betweens.

The deal could also involve the release of several hundred Palestinian detainees held by Israel, according to AFP.

Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani — whose country hosts Hamas leaders and helped broker a one-week truce in November — is due in Paris this week, according to the French presidency.

A weeks-long pause would allow hundreds of trucks to deliver aid to Gaza, where nearly 30,000 have been killed, according to the Gaza health ministry, while disease and hunger have gripped much of the population.

The offensive on Gaza follows Hamas’ October 7 attacks in Israel, which killed 1,200 people and held over 200 hostages. At least 100 hostages were released in exchange for a week-long pause, but Israeli officials believe 130 hostages remain in Gaza.

Biden’s comments on the ceasefire came hours after an active-duty member of the US Air Force died after setting himself on fire outside the Israeli embassy in Washington, to protest against the genocide in Gaza.

Activists are urging Democrats to vote “uncommitted” in the Michigan primary election, rather than supporting Biden, to pressure the US president to change course and call for a permanent ceasefire, as the situation becomes politically complicated.

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