President Joe Biden met with Jordanian King Abdullah II at the White House on Monday as the administration continued talks on a potential hostage release deal in the war between Israel and Hamas and criticized Israel's planned ground assault on the Gaza city of Rafah.
The two leaders discussed, joined by senior foreign policy staff The ongoing situation in Gaza And efforts to release the hostages, which Biden said he discussed with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and leaders in Egypt and Qatar “to move this forward.” He said that these efforts would include stopping the fighting for six weeks.
“We don’t know how many are still alive,” Biden said. “The suffering their families endure, week after week, month after month, is unimaginable. Bringing them home is a top priority for the United States.”
Biden said the two leaders also discussed boosting humanitarian aid to Gaza and efforts to achieve a “lasting peace” based on the two-state solution.
He added, “I have made clear that the United States shares the goal of seeing Hamas defeated and ensuring long-term security for Israel and its people.”
Abdullah, who spoke after Biden, warned against the displacement of Palestinians beyond the borders of Gaza and the West Bank, while urging a two-state solution.
He added: “We must – with Arab partners and the international community – intensify efforts to reach a ceasefire in Gaza and immediately begin working to create a political horizon that leads to a just and comprehensive peace based on the two-state solution.” “Abdullah said.
The meeting between Biden and Abdullah was their first since three American soldiers were killed in a drone strike on a base in northeastern Jordan last month. The United States attributed the strike to Iranian-backed armed groups, and the President and First Lady Jill Biden attended the transfer of dead soldiers at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware this month.
The administration is in talks about a possible hostage release deal that includes Biden sending CIA Director William Burns to Egypt on Tuesday. Intelligence chiefs from the United States, Israel, Egypt, and the prime minister of Qatar have negotiated a potential framework that includes a six-week cessation of fighting, an exchange of Israeli hostages for Palestinian prisoners, and a plan to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza.
US officials said they believe significant progress has been made on a hostage release deal that could happen this week, a senior administration official told reporters on Sunday after Biden spoke with Netanyahu.
“It is very much there,” the official said in the call with reporters, stressing that there are still “some important cases that need to be closed.”
Biden and Netanyahu spent two-thirds of their call on Sunday discussing hostage negotiations, the official said. The official said Biden expressed concern about the Israeli military operation in Rafah because a large number of civilians had been directed there earlier in the war. The official said that Biden and Netanyahu had “detailed information about this matter.”
While Biden has privately expressed frustration with Netanyahu's military approach, Biden has continued to show unequivocal support for Israel, NBC News reported.
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