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update deskU.S.-Israel Relations

Netanyahu thanks Biden after hostage deal

The U.S. president also spoke with Egypt’s head of state about the impending release of Israelis from Gaza.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Joe Biden on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York on Sept. 20, 2023. Photo by Avi Ohayon/GPO.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Joe Biden on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York on Sept. 20, 2023. Photo by Avi Ohayon/GPO.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Joe Biden spoke by phone on Wednesday, hours after Israel announced a hostage deal with Hamas.

Biden welcomed “the deal for the release of at least 50 hostages held by Hamas,” according to a readout from the White House. “The two leaders discussed the pause in the fighting, which will allow for surging in much needed humanitarian assistance into Gaza.”

Netanyahu thanked Biden “for his tireless efforts, and those of his team, to help broker this deal,” the White House added. “The two leaders agreed that the work is not yet done, and the president assured the prime minister that he will continue working to secure the release of all remaining hostages.”

Biden “further emphasized the importance of maintaining calm along the Lebanese border as well as in the West Bank,” the White House stated.

In a video that the White House released on Wednesday, John Kirby, coordinator for strategic communications at the National Security Council, said the deal will “allow for a pause in the fighting for something like four days, maybe longer. We’ll see.”

Biden also spoke during the day with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, whom he thanked “for Egypt’s efforts to reach a deal for the release of hostages held by Hamas together with a humanitarian pause in Gaza,” per a White House readout.

The U.S. and Egyptian presidents “discussed coordination to further surge humanitarian assistance to Palestinians in Gaza,” according to the White House. Biden “reiterated that under no circumstances will the United States permit the forced relocation of Palestinians from Gaza or the West Bank, or the besiegement of Gaza, or the redrawing of the borders of Gaza.”

“He also affirmed that under no circumstances can Gaza remain a sanctuary for Hamas where they can threaten Israel and Palestinians alike and imperil any pathway to a durable peace,” per the readout. 

Biden also “affirmed his commitment to the establishment of a Palestinian state and recognized Egypt’s essential role in setting the conditions for that outcome.”

The two leaders agreed to remain in close contact over the coming days as the deal to release hostages from Hamas is fully implemented.

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