(Washington) King Abdullah II called on Monday for an “immediately lasting ceasefire” in Gaza in front of Joe Biden, who preferred to evoke a pause “of at least six weeks” as part of an agreement, which remains to find, on the release of the hostages still held in the enclave.
The sovereign, during a joint speech at the White House, declared that “there must be a lasting ceasefire immediately” in Gaza.
The American president still rejects this idea of an unconditional and indefinite cessation of hostilities.
“The United States is working on an agreement to release the hostages between Israel and Hamas, which would immediately bring a period of calm of at least six weeks in Gaza”, which could lead to “something more lasting”, said the 81-year-old Democrat.
The two leaders also each discussed the situation in Rafah, a town in the south of the Gaza Strip which is Israel’s next stated military objective, in slightly different terms.
“We cannot afford an Israeli attack on Rafah,” Abdullah II said, adding that “the situation was already unbearable for more than a million people who have been pushed towards (this border town with Egypt) since that the war has begun.
Joe Biden did not ask Israel to purely and simply renounce any attack, but insisted on the fact that “civilians must be protected. »
Repeating the position already expressed on several occasions by the American administration, the president demanded, from the Israeli forces, a “credible” plan to spare the civilian population, prior to any offensive.
The sovereign and the president found themselves on the call to establish a Palestinian state in the long term.
“This is the only way to ensure Israel’s security in the long term,” argued Joe Biden.
Abdallah II called for “an independent, sovereign and viable Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as its capital, but cohabiting with Israel in peace and security. »
“This is the only solution that will guarantee peace and security for Palestinians and Israelis and the entire region,” he said.
The sovereign has started an international tour which will also see him go to Canada, France and Germany.
Abdullah II, accompanied by his wife Queen Rania and Crown Prince Hussein, was solemnly received by Joe and Jill Biden.
The king’s tour aims to “mobilize international support for a ceasefire in Gaza (…) and provide humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip in sufficient quantities and on a permanent basis”, according to the palace.
Washington, Israel’s first ally, is letting its annoyance with the government of Benjamin Netanyahu show more and more clearly, in particular with regard to Rafah.
Asked whether the Israeli Prime Minister listened to his advice, Joe Biden responded with humor: “Everyone does. »
But NBC reports that in private, the American president vents his frustration with the Israeli leader, including with expletives.
His administration, however, has so far rejected the idea of conditioning significant military aid from the United States on any commitments or objectives regarding the protection of Palestinian civilians.
The war between Israel and Hamas was sparked on October 7 when commandos of the Palestinian movement infiltrated from the Gaza Strip, where the movement took power in 2007, carried out an attack in southern Israel that resulted in the deaths of more than 1,160 people, the majority civilians, according to an AFP count based on official Israeli data.
In retaliation, Israel, which considers Hamas a terrorist organization, like the United States and the European Union, vowed to “destroy” this group and launched an offensive that left at least 28,340 people dead in the territory. Palestinians, the vast majority of them women, children and adolescents, according to the latest report from the Hamas Ministry of Health.
Israel estimates that around 130 hostages are still being held in Gaza, 29 of whom are believed to have died, out of around 250 people kidnapped in Israel on October 7.