“None. No possibility,” Biden told reporters outside the White House on Thursday when asked about the chances of a firm cessation in hostilities.
Speaking to reporters separately later in the day as he was boarding the Air Force One, the president revealed he had been pushing for a “pause” in fighting “for a lot more than three days”.
The US, however, has not managed to secure even that long of a pause from Israel, which is apparently determined to continue its war on Hamas until the group is completely destroyed.
Thus far, Israel has only agreed to implement daily humanitarian breaks, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby revealed during a press conference, hailing this development as “significant steps forward”.
“Israel will begin to implement four-hour pauses in areas of northern Gaza each day, with an announcement to be made three hours beforehand,” Kirby told reporters on Thursday.
“We’ve been told by the Israelis that there will be no military operations in these areas over the duration of the pause (and) that this process is starting today.”
However, an hour later, a statement from Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said the fighting in Gaza would “continue and there will not be a ceasefire before the hostages are released”.
Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant also stated Thursday during a news conference the four-hour periodic pauses by the Israeli military announced Thursday do not amount to a ceasefire and will not affect the fight in Gaza.
He stressed that there would be no ceasefire until the release of the hostages.
Israel has repeatedly rejected the prospect of reaching any sort of ceasefire with Hamas while the group continues to hold hostages it took during its initial attack in the south of the country on October 7.
“There will be no ceasefire without the return of the hostages. This should be completely removed from the lexicon,” the Israeli Prime Minister told aircraft crews at the Ramon air force base over the weekend.
Netanyahu has also claimed Israel will not “seek to occupy Gaza” after the end of the current conflict.
“We don’t seek to conquer Gaza, we don’t seek to occupy Gaza and we don’t seek to govern Gaza,” Netanyahu said in a Fox News interview that aired Thursday.
“We’ll have to find a government, a civilian government that will be there, but in the foreseeable future, we have to make sure that this doesn’t happen again,” he added.
In private, however, Israel has reportedly refused to agree to a ceasefire, even if it was to secure the release of said hostages.
According to The Guardian daily, Netanyahu has already rejected a deal for a five-day ceasefire in exchange for the release of certain hostages. The original deal involved freeing children, women, the elderly, and sick people, the newspaper wrote, citing sources familiar with the matter. The Israeli government shot down the proposal, however, with Netanyahu demonstrating a tough stance and responding by launching a ground offensive instead.