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Biden praises Israel-Hamas cease-fire, promises humanitarian aid for Gaza

President Biden on Thursday evening addressed the "mutual, unconditional cease-fire" between Israel and Hamas, saying he spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and "commended him for the decision to bring the current hostilities to a close within less than 11 days."

During their conversation, Biden said he "emphasized what I've said throughout this conflict: The United States fully supports Israel's right to defend itself against indiscriminate rocket attacks from Hamas and other Gaza-based terrorist groups that have taken the lives of innocent civilians in Israel."

Biden also praised Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and his top officials for brokering the cease-fire, and said the United States will provide "rapid humanitarian assistance to Gaza" in "full partnership with the Palestinian Authority, not Hamas ... in a manner that does not permit Hamas to simply restock its military arsenal." He expressed his sorrow over the fighting resulting in "the tragic deaths of so many civilians, including children," and sent his condolences.

Over the last week, Biden said, the U.S. has been involved in "intense diplomatic engagement," and he believes "the Palestinians and Israelis equally deserve to live safely and securely and to enjoy equal measures of freedom, prosperity, and democracy. My administration will continue our quiet and relentless diplomacy toward that end. I believe we have a genuine opportunity to make progress and I've committed to working for it."