Biden Praises Israel-Hamas Deal, Vowing Continued U.S. Diplomacy

President Joe Biden praised a truce between Israel and Hamas after an 11-day conflict over the Gaza Strip killed more than 200 people and led to rising pressure in the U.S. to distance itself from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government.

“I believe the Palestinians and Israelis equally deserve to live safely and securely and enjoy equal measures of freedom, prosperity and democracy,” Biden said at the White House on Thursday. “My administration will continue our quiet relentless diplomacy toward that end.”

Israel and Hamas agreed late Thursday to an Egyptian-mediated cease-fire designed to end their 11-day conflict. The announcement came amid growing pressure from the Biden administration to stop the fighting, which killed an estimated 232 Palestinians and 12 Israelis.

Israel’s security cabinet unanimously voted to approve Egypt’s proposal for an unconditional truce with Hamas, according to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office. The cease-fire will take effect at 2 a.m. local time on Friday, Lebanon’s Al Mayadeen TV reported, citing senior Hamas official Osama Hamdan.

Biden on Wednesday urged Netanyahu to end the fighting, telling the Israeli leader during a phone call he expected a “significant de-escalation today” according to the White House.

The president also faced pressure from some Democrats to take a harder line against the Israeli government and voice stronger support for the Palestinians, who suffered heavy losses in the fighting. But in a signal to Democrats who wanted to halt weapons sales to Israel, Biden said he is willing to help “replenish” the Iron Dome missile defense system Israel deployed to stop Hamas’ rockets from the Gaza Strip.

Read more: Israel, Hamas Reach Cease-Fire to End Bloody Fight

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