Calm in Gaza as truce holds for second day; Biden promises major package to rebuild homes destroyed in Gaza

A tense calm has prevailed in Gaza City,second day, more than 24 hours after a ceasefire came into effect between Israel, Hamas and other allied Palestinian groups.

The ceasefire agreement reached between Israel and Palestinian armed groups in the Gaza Strip appeared to be holding, but there have been tensions in occupied East Jerusalem where Israeli police stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and fired tear gas at Palestinians after Friday prayers.

The Egyptian-brokered ceasefire came into effect in the early hours of Friday after 11 days of relentless Israeli bombing of the besieged enclave and thousands of rockets launched into Israel by Hamas, the group governing the Strip.

Biden praised the Israeli prime minister for keeping his word to honour the ceasefire negotiated by Egypt with Hamas. And the US president emphasised there has been “no shift in my commitment, commitment to the security of Israel. Period. No shift, not at all”.

The US president’s remarks came during a joint news conference at the White House with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in which the two pledged to work together to engage constructively with North Korea. Biden’s comments are the most specific he has made about the message he had given to Netanyahu during the latest conflict.

President Biden said he told Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Palestinians in Jerusalem must be respected and humanitarian aid must be delivered to Gaza as part of the ceasefire agreement with Hamas.

“It is essential that the Palestinians on the West Bank be secure,” Biden said he told Netanyahu when they spoke on May 20.

“intercommunal fighting” in Jerusalem, “that has to come to an end,” Biden said he told Netanyahu.

Biden told Netanyahu that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas must “be recognised as the leader of the Palestinian people, which he is”.

Biden said his administration would “put together a major package with other nations who share our view to rebuild the homes” destroyed in Gaza without “providing Hamas the opportunity to rebuild their weapon system”.

 

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