Israeli leaders have just approved a cease-fire with Hamas after 11 days of fighting the terrorist group which has launched more than 4000 rockets into Israel, killing 12 Israeli civilians. 232 Palestinians were also killed in the fighting.
The mutual ceasefire starts at 7 p.m. ET today without any preconditions.
President Biden announces Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told him Israel has agreed to a "mutual, unconditional ceasefire to begin in less than two hours.”
He says: “The Egyptians have now informed us that Hamas and the other groups in Gaza have also agreed.” pic.twitter.com/QUuj4royxt
— The Recount (@therecount) May 20, 2021
Now, it’s clear while Biden was saying that they supported the right of Israel to defend itself, they were pressing for a ceasefire behind the scenes to cave to the left.
That said, regardless of any influence the U.S. was trying to bring to bear, it was really just a question of whether Benjamin Netanyahu felt that they’d taken out enough of Hamas’ ability to attack them.
So one has to believe that they finally agreed because Israel felt they’d done that. As Biden noted, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi was helpful in achieving the ceasefire between the two parties.
Israel also left open the door to the resumption of the fighting if the ceasefire wasn’t honored, “The political leaders emphasized that the reality on the ground will determine the future of the campaign.”
But while Biden announced the information about the ceasefire, it was Kamala Harris who made a call to the President of Jordan today to talk about the U.S. support for a ceasefire.
I spoke with Jordan King Abdullah II to reaffirm our support and express our commitment to continued close cooperation. I briefed him on our intensive diplomatic efforts to support the path to a ceasefire in Gaza. The U.S. and Jordan will continue working to deescalate tensions. pic.twitter.com/IKLiFAaVhl
— Vice President Kamala Harris (@VP) May 20, 2021
“I spoke with Jordan King Abdullah II to reaffirm our support and express our commitment to continued close cooperation,” Harris tweeted. “I briefed him on our intensive diplomatic efforts to support the path to a ceasefire in Gaza. The U.S. and Jordan will continue working to deescalate tensions.”
So why is Kamala calling foreign leaders and not Joe Biden?
According to the NY Post, Biden hasn’t spoken to King Abdullah since the fighting began on May 10. The White House readout of the call said that Harris and Abdullah had “discussed the ongoing conflict in Gaza and the violence in Jerusalem and the West Bank.”
Biden apparently hadn’t even spoken to the Egyptian President el-Sisi until today, after the ceasefire deal was already underway.
NBC’s Kristen Welker put Psaki on the defensive when she asked if Biden could have “tried to move forward with this ceasefire earlier if he’d started reaching out to el-Sisi and his other partners in the region several days ago?”
An interesting question. I don’t think so, because as I said, I don’t think Netanyahu was going to be deterred until he felt he had degraded Hamas’ ability enough.
But it does raise the question of why Biden was failing to reach out to these leaders and why Kamala was the one who was calling the King of Jordan?