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Report: Biden Calls for Unilateral Ceasefire in Gaza — Before Israeli Hostages Freed

  President Joe Biden called Tuesday for Israel to accept a unilateral ceasefire in Gaza for six to eight weeks — before any of the remainin...

 President Joe Biden called Tuesday for Israel to accept a unilateral ceasefire in Gaza for six to eight weeks — before any of the remaining Israeli hostages are set free by Hamas, undermining Israel’s military and diplomatic position.

Biden’s remarks were aired by Univision, though they were taped last week. As Breitbart News reported, Biden had demanded an “immediate ceasefire” last Thursday, after the accidental killing of seven aid workers in Gaza. He had also allowed a United Nations Security Council resolution to pass that separated a ceasefire from the release of the hostages. But the White House insisted that its policy had not changed, and still wanted the two issues to be linked.

Now, that is over. The Times of Israel reported on the “major policy shift” by the president on Tuesday:

“What I’m calling for is for the Israelis to just call for a ceasefire, allow for the next six, eight weeks, total access to all food and medicine going into the country,” Biden tells the Univision, a US Spanish-language TV network.

“I’ve spoken with everyone from the Saudis to the Jordanians to the Egyptians. They’re prepared to move in,” Biden says. “They’re prepared to move this food in. And I think there’s no excuse to not provide for the medical and the food needs of those people. It should be done now.”

Hours before the interview aired, Biden’s top aides went on record presenting a very different approach to how the US wants to see a ceasefire come about, insisting that it was Hamas, not Israel that is holding up a deal that would see an extended pause in fighting, the hostages released and aid surge into Gaza.

Biden’s statement aired as Israeli negotiators are in Cairo, Egypt, trying to convince Hamas to release 40 of the 133 remaining hostages, in return for a temporary ceasefire and the release of a far greater number of terrorists.

Effectively, Biden’s new stance undercuts Israeli negotiators and explicitly adopts the terms demanded by Hamas, which insists that a ceasefire must come before any hostages are freed. Biden had already adopted that position by last week, but had never spoken so clearly in favor of a ceasefire — and without, apparently, mentioning the hostages.

Several hostage family members met with Vice President Kamala Harris on Tuesday at the White House. She has also called for a ceasefire.

In the interview, Biden also reportedly said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was making a “mistake” in his handling of the war — a reversal from his “unwavering” support for Israel’s response to Hamas in October.

It is not yet clear whether Biden mentioned the hostages at all in the interview, which airs 10 p.m. ET on Tuesday.

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