(USNewsMag.com) – On Oct. 23, President Joe Biden stated that ceasefire talks between Israel and Hamas can only occur if all the hostages held in Gaza by Hamas are released.
The comments were made during a White House event when Biden was asked if he supported a “hostages-for-ceasefire” deal. Biden stated that the hostages should be released “and then we should talk.”
During Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel, which killed 1,400 people, including 32 Americans, Hamas took an estimated 222 hostages back to Gaza. Ten Americans are believed to be among the hostages being held in Gaza.
Two American nationals, Judith Raanan and her daughter Natalie Raanan, 17, who had been held hostage by Hamas, were released on Oct. 20. Two more hostages, Israeli citizens Nurit Cooper, 79, and Yocheved Lifshitz, 85, were also released on Oct. 23 following Qatari and Egyptian mediation.
The hostage releases followed three days of humanitarian assistance into Gaza, the first food and medicine to enter the area since the Oct. 7 attack. The shipments were inspected by Israel before entering Gaza. Following the attack, Israel’s two crossings into Gaza were closed, stopping all food, fuel, and electricity provided through the two crossings from entering Gaza until all of the hostages were released.
White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby avoided questions about the possibility of a ceasefire if all the hostages are released. Kirby stated that Hamas could “release them all now,” adding that they are “just innocent civilians” and could be let go now.
The ceasefire comments are in contrast to what Biden has said since the Oct. 7 attack. Following the attack, Israel has sought to eliminate Hamas. Biden has previously stated that Israel has a “right” as well as a “duty” to fight Hamas. Since the attack, Israel has been amassing troops along the border in preparation for what is expected to be a ground incursion into Gaza.
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