Biden erroneously claims Israel-Hamas ceasefire agreement close; both sides say otherwise

 February 28, 2024

President Joe Biden, whether through his elderly forgetfulness or for personal political purposes, appears to have prematurely let slip during an interview confidential information about a proposed Israel-Hamas ceasefire that was not yet confirmed, Breitbart reported.

Biden's slip-up occurred during his recorded interview Monday with NBC "Late Night" host Seth Myers and afterward to reporters while getting ice cream with the comedic TV host. The problem is that both Hamas and Israel have openly stated that no agreement has been reached yet on a proposed ceasefire, and it is apparent that both sides remain far apart on the key terms of any potential deal.

Biden claims Israel-Hamas ceasefire deal will begin in a week

Monday evening, following the taping of his interview with Myers in New York City, President Biden and the "Late Night" host stopped by an ice cream shop near the NBC studio. Biden briefly addressed a press gaggle while eating his frozen treat in a cone, during which he was asked when a possible ceasefire between Israel and Hamas might begin.

"Well, I hope by the beginning of the weekend -- I mean the end of the weekend," Biden told reporters. "At least, my -- my National Security Advisor tells me that we’re close. We’re close. It’s not done yet. And my hope is by next Monday, we’ll have a ceasefire."

Earlier, during the interview that aired late Monday night, Biden also seemed to claim that Israel had agreed to halt its ongoing offensive in Gaza for the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, according to The Times of Israel.

"Ramadan’s 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 told Myers.

Hamas says a ceasefire deal is not yet close

Unfortunately for President Biden, it appears that he didn't check with the two participants in the ongoing hostilities, Israel and Hamas, before making those statements, as both sides have made it clear that a supposed agreement on a ceasefire is not as close at hand as Biden seemed to imply.

Al Jazeera reported Wednesday that senior Hamas spokesman Basem Naim said of a possible agreement, "The gap is still wide. We have to discuss a lot of points with the mediators," and suggested that Biden's apparent optimism was based more on his "domestic political considerations" in the U.S. than "the reality on the ground" in Gaza.

"If the Americans want to be really optimistic, they have to end their game of double standards. They talk on one hand for stopping the aggression or for achieving a ceasefire and avoiding broadening the conflict into the region," he continued. "But at the same time they are using the veto in the U.N. Security Council. They are approving $14bn for Israel, they are securing Israel with more ammunitions."

The outlet noted that while Naim added that even though Hamas was "flexible" on some terms of a potential ceasefire agreement, there remained at least three key non-negotiable demands for the Palestinian terror organization: "A final and total ceasefire, and not just a humanitarian pause; the total withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza; and freedom of movement for Palestinians within Gaza."

Netanyahu says "delusional" demands from Hamas preventing an agreement

Breitbart reported that in response to President Biden's slip-up Monday, Israeli government spokesperson Tal Heinrich on Tuesday echoed and pointed to what Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had said Sunday during an appearance on CBS News's "Face the Nation" with host Margaret Brennan about prior optimistic remarks from Biden about a deal for a six-week ceasefire being close at hand.

"Well, I'm not sure the exact duration, but I can tell you that we're all working on it. We want it, I want it. Because we want to liberate the remaining hostages, we've already brought half of them back," Netanyahu replied, but further said, "I can't tell you if we'll have it. But if Hamas goes down from its delusional claims and goes down -- can bring them down to earth, then we'll have the progress that we all want."

Asked about the hold-up and specific terms of the proposed deal, the Israeli leader stated, "I don't think it makes any sense to have a public discussion of this. But Hamas started out with just crazy demands. And, you know, it's -- it's too soon to say if they're -- if they've abandoned them, but if they do abandon them and get into what you call the ballpark -- they're not even in the city. They're in another planet. But if they come down to a -- a reasonable situation, then yes, we'll have a hostage deal. I hope so."

Netanyahu went on to also outline Israel's non-negotiable demands for a ceasefire, which included "total victory" in Gaza, meaning the complete destruction of Hamas' leadership and its two dozen fighting battalions, plus the dismantling of its tunnel networks and the clearing of its last remaining stronghold in southern Gaza, the city of Rafah, not to mention the return of every single hostage taken, whether still alive or already dead.

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