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Harris calls for immediate cease-fire 'for at least the next six weeks' in Gaza

Vice President Kamala Harris called for an “immediate cease-fire” in the Israel-Hamas war Sunday, doubling down on pressure from the Biden administration as negotiations continue for a six-week pause in fighting.

“Given the immense scale of suffering in Gaza, there must be an immediate cease-fire at least for the next six weeks, which is currently on the table,” she said in the Selma, Ala., speech.

President Biden has urged the Israeli government to agree to a six-week cease-fire for weeks, amid tense negotiations with Hamas.

The Israeli government agreed to the framework of a proposed six-week cease-fire on Saturday, The Associated Press reported, a sign of progress in negotiations.

Harris is set to meet with Benny Gantz, a member of the Israeli war cabinet, on Monday at the White House to discuss the cease-fire deal and humanitarian aid, The New York Times reported.

The scheduled meeting reportedly draws the ire of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who did not authorize the trip, according to The Times of Israel.

The vice president also pressed the Israeli government to allow more humanitarian aid into Gaza in the speech, calling the situation in the war-torn region a “humanitarian catastrophe.”

“What we are seeing every day in Gaza is devastating,” she said. “We have seen reports of families eating leaves or animal food. Women giving birth to malnourished babies with little or no medical care, and children dying from malnutrition and dehydration.” 

She added that there are “no excuses” for Israel not to increase aid deliveries in Gaza.

The Biden administration has turned up criticism of Israel in recent weeks over humanitarian conditions in Gaza, especially after the killing of over 100 civilians attempting to receive aid on Thursday.

Biden has faced growing pressure from Democrats to call for a permanent cease-fire between Israel and Hamas as the situation in Gaza worsens, and the Palestinian death toll from Israel’s attacks climbs above 30,000. 

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, praised Harris’ statement on Sunday but urged the Biden administration to follow it up with policy.

“The VP has called for an immediate ceasefire, and urgent aid into Gaza,” Jayapal wrote on X, formerly Twitter. “This is the first time this language has been used by the administration. It is important. Now let’s back it up with policy shift.”

Source: The Hill

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