Biden Says Israel Ready To Suspend Military Activities During Ramadan If Hostage-Release Deal Is Reached

U.S. President Joe Biden has revealed that Israel has agreed to a temporary halt in military activities in Gaza during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The announcement comes as Hamas examines a draft proposal for a potential truce, encompassing a pause in fighting and a proposed exchange of prisoners and hostages.

The draft proposal, considered the most serious attempt in weeks to resolve the conflict that erupted in October last year, aims to address critical humanitarian concerns.

According to a senior source close to truce talks in Paris, the proposal includes provisions to repair hospitals and bakeries in Gaza. Moreover, it envisions the entry of 500 aid trucks daily into the battered enclave.

Ramadan is set to begin on the evening of March 10th and conclude on the evening of April 9th.

President Biden, during an appearance on NBC’s “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” emphasized the importance of the agreed cessation during Ramadan to facilitate the release of hostages.

“Ramadan is coming up, and there’s been an agreement by the Israelis that they would not engage in activities during Ramadan, as well, in order to give us time to get all the hostages out,” Biden stated.

Expressing concern over the high death toll among Palestinians, President Biden warned that Israel could risk losing international support. He revealed that Israel had committed to enabling the evacuation of Palestinians from Rafah in Gaza’s south before intensifying its campaign against Hamas.

Biden conveyed an agreement in principle for a ceasefire between the two sides during the release of hostages, expressing hope for its realization by the following Monday.

“There are too many innocent people that are being killed. And Israel has slowed down the attacks in Rafah,” Biden added, asserting that a temporary ceasefire could kickstart a process for Palestinians to establish their own state.

However, the proposal faces challenges as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected a two-state solution. The draft outlines a potential exchange ratio of 10 to one for Palestinian prisoners and Israeli hostages.

Under the proposed truce, Hamas would release 40 Israeli hostages, including women, children under 19, the elderly over 50, and the sick. In return, Israel would release around 400 Palestinian prisoners without re-arresting them, according to the senior source.

Mediators are intensifying efforts to secure a ceasefire in Gaza, aiming to prevent an Israeli assault on the city of Rafah, where more than a million displaced people are currently sheltering at the southern edge of the enclave.

The recent developments follow the October 7th incident where Hamas killed 1,200 people and captured 253 hostages, prompting Israel to launch a ground assault on Gaza. The conflict has resulted in nearly 30,000 confirmed deaths, according to Gaza health authorities.

Ozioma Samuel-Ugwuezi