WASHINGTON: In an op-ed published on Saturday, US President Joe Biden dismisses increasing ceasefire calls for Gaza, asserting that it won’t bring about peace. “As long as Hamas clings to its ideology of destruction, a cease-fire is not peace. To Hamas’s members, every cease-fire is time they exploit to rebuild their stockpile of rockets, reposition fighters and restart the killing by attacking innocents again,” Biden wrote in the piece for The Washington Post, adding, “Our goal should not be simply to stop the war for today — it should be to end the war forever, break the cycle of unceasing violence, and build something stronger in Gaza and across the Middle East so that history does not keep repeating itself.”
Biden also called for Israel to respect humanitarian law and minimise the loss of civilian life, saying he counselled Israeli officials during his trip to Tel Aviv “against letting their hurt and rage mislead them into making mistakes we ourselves have made in the past.”
In the op-ed, Biden also said that a two-state solution is the only solution to the enduring conflict in the region and that, in the meantime, there should be governance under the Palestinian Authority. “As we strive for peace, Gaza and the West Bank should be reunited under a single governance structure, ultimately under a revitalised Palestinian Authority, as we all work towards a two-state solution,” Biden wrote in The Washington Post.
Biden also took aim at the extremist violence against Palestinians in the West Bank, which has been a concern among officials, saying that the US is prepared to issue visa bans against the perpetrators. “I have been emphatic with Israel’s leaders that extremist violence against Palestinians in the West Bank must stop and that those committing the violence must be held accountable,” President Biden wrote.
The warning surfaced amid worries about Israel allegedly violating the Visa Waiver Programme, enabling eligible travellers to seek entry into the US without a visa, effective since late October, according to CNN. “I won’t get into full details of our private diplomatic conversations, but we expect Israel to address those concerns,” State Department spokesperson Matt Miller said this week.
Last month, the Biden administration sought over USD 105 billion from Congress in a proposed package, aiming to allocate security assistance for the conflicts in Ukraine and Israel. President Biden passionately appealed for the funding during a primetime Oval Office address, deeming the moment “an inflection point” in American history.
In his closing remarks, the president denounced the escalating antisemitism and Islamophobia since the onset of the conflict between Israel and Hamas, CNN reported.