The Israeli security cabinet has agreed to a cease-fire with the Palestinian militant group Hamas, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office announced Thursday, a move that could pause their worst clash since 2014. Hamas also confirmed the cease-fire, according to the AFP.
After an Israeli crackdown on Palestinians in Jerusalem during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Hamas began launching rockets into Israel on May 10. Israel responded with airstrikes on Gaza, the crowded and isolated territory ruled by Hamas, that killed dozens of civilians ― including more than 60 children ― and destroyed critical infrastructure like medical facilities. Gaza health officials say 232 Palestinians have been killed. Hamas attacks have killed at least 12 Israelis, including two children.
The U.S., which is implicated in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through its heavy support for Israel, encouraged negotiations to stop the fighting.
But in repeated calls with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Joe Biden did not mention a cease-fire until a week into the flare-up ― while leaders in his party, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), called for an immediate halt.
Critics of the Biden administration, including many of the president’s allies, say their team should have recognized the risk of dramatic escalation sooner and used American leverage earlier. Instead, the U.S. doubled down on demonstrating support for Israel, blocking United Nations criticism and unveiling a new $735 million weapons sale to the country.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.
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