3 people were killed in an Israeli attack targeting a residential area in Damascus

The phrase “ceasefire” is frequently used by Biden as Israel prepares to occupy Rafah

US President Joe Biden has for months wanted to reach “confrontation” during the ongoing fighting between Israel and the Islamist movement (Hamas) in the Gaza Strip, but his tone has changed as Israel prepares to invade Rafah by ground. A “temporary ceasefire.”

That may seem like a small verbal difference, but it brings Biden closer to many around the world and to critics within his Democratic Party who want a permanent ceasefire in a war that has killed nearly 30,000 Palestinians.

UN over the war between Israel and Hamas. The United States used its veto power against three proposals presented to the Security Council. More recently, it protested language calling for an immediate ceasefire on humanitarian grounds. However, Washington is currently proposing a draft resolution containing the phrase “ceasefire”.

The draft resolution calls for a temporary ceasefire aimed at freeing prisoners held by the Palestinian movement and opposes a major Israeli ground offensive on Rafah, according to a text seen by Reuters.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US ambassador to the United Nations, denied any change in tone was deliberate.

He told reporters yesterday (Tuesday): “It reflects what we've been doing.”

Until the draft proposal was submitted, Washington avoided using the term cease-fire for any UN action related to the war in Gaza. The new U.S. text reflects the tone Biden has used publicly about the situation this month.

US President Joe Biden (AP)

On February 8, during a press conference, Biden described Israel's response in Gaza as “over the top” and, in his harshest criticism, added: “I'm pushing hard right now for a hostage ceasefire, and you know, I'm working tirelessly.” For the purpose of this Agreement.

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Eight days later, Biden said he held detailed talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about a ceasefire.

Biden said on February 16: “I raised the issue of the need to declare a temporary ceasefire to remove the hostages. It is ongoing. “I still believe it can be accomplished.”

While negotiating the previous hostage agreement in November, Biden mentioned the term “ceasefire.”

On November 26 he said: “I want the ceasefire to continue until the release of prisoners continues.”

U.S. officials said the change in Biden's tone had nothing to do with criticism of him.

Instead, they said, it reflected continued efforts to strike a deal between Israel and Hamas to end the fighting for between six and eight weeks in exchange for the release of prisoners in Gaza and the speeding up of humanitarian aid to civilians.

White House officials believe that if the fighting can be stopped for that long, a long-term ceasefire could be reached. But Israel's planned offensive on Rafah, a city south of Gaza where more than a million Palestinians have taken refuge, will complicate efforts to end the fighting.

U.S. officials insist that Biden did not call for a permanent ceasefire, reflecting his belief that Israel has the right to defend itself, after a Hamas attack on October 7 killed 1,200 people in southern Israel.

Aaron David Miller, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and an expert on Middle East affairs, said the shift in Biden's speech did not reflect a major shift, but rather the administration's concern over the attack on Rafa.

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Biden has faced sharp criticism from Arab Americans, many of whom have turned out in large numbers at campaign events protesting his support for Israel and calling for a ceasefire.

Arab Americans in Michigan have vowed not to support him in the presidential election scheduled for November, threatening his chances of winning the state.

White House press secretary Karen Jean-Pierre told reporters on Air Force One yesterday (Tuesday) that the president used the phrase “ceasefire” in November.

On November 1, he appeared to be referring to a fundraising campaign when someone called for a cease-fire. “I think we need a truce,” Biden responded. A truce is a period of time for the release of prisoners.

He added: “I was the person who convinced Bibi (Netanyahu) to call for a ceasefire to release the prisoners.” The White House later clarified that Biden was referring to hostages, not Hamas prisoners.

Jean-Pierre said yesterday: “It is clear that there is no change in American policy. We stand firm in our position.

Brett McCurg, the US ambassador to the Middle East, is traveling to the region this week to hold further talks on the hostage treaty. US officials say they want to reach an agreement before the start of Ramadan on March 10.

Talks involving US and Israeli intelligence chiefs, Egyptian officials and Qatar's prime minister to temporarily halt Israel's four-month-old war in Gaza ended without progress. A week ago.

US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told a press conference: “Ramadan is more than two weeks away.”

He added: “We want to reach this humanitarian ceasefire before the start of Ramadan. We would like to see progress by the end of the week. “Like I said, we want to get there as soon as possible.”

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