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White House: Johnson not serious about backing allies after he claimed Biden called for cease-fire

The White House called Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) not serious about backing the United States’ allies after the speaker released a statement claiming the President Biden called for a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war.

Johnson’s statement on Tuesday had the subject line, ‘Biden’s Call for Cease-fire is Disgraceful,’ and highlighted that the Biden administration called for a temporary cease-fire between Israel and Hamas and opposed Israelis moves into Rafah.

Johnson said Biden “is responding to political pressure from opponents of Israel” as it gets closer to November’s election and has scaled down its support for Israel with a “shocking step” to back a temporary cease-fire.

“It’s unfortunate that Speaker Johnson is attacking those efforts and continuing to play politics with Israel while he blocks the aid President Biden requested to help Israel defend itself against Hamas and Iranian-backed militias at the same time that he obstructs other crucial priorities like protecting Ukraine from Putting and Tehran,” White House spokesperson Andrew Bates said.

The U.S. vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution proposed by Algeria earlier on Tuesday that called on Israel to implement a cease-fire against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, arguing the vote was “wishful” and “irresponsible” because it would put negotiations to release the hostages in peril.

Bates said that the resolution the Biden administration then introduced at the United Nations Security Council was an alternative text that calls for a temporary cease-fire and the release of more than 100 Israeli hostages held by Hamas.

“If Speaker Johnson were serious about backing our allies, he would cancel the two-week vacation he’s enjoying and call a vote on pressing national security legislation that already passed the Senate with bipartisan support,” Bates said.

The U.S. was the only permanent member of the Security Council to use its veto power to kill the resolution proposed by Algeria. The U.K., another permanent member, abstained for the vote.

The Biden administration has been involved in months of negotiations for a temporary cease-fire between Israel and Hamas to release the hostages taken during the deadly attacks on Oct. 7. Biden this month said the U.S. is working to broker a deal that could lead to a six-week pause in fighting, after it worked to reach a deal in November that led to a week-long pause in fighting and the release of more than 100 hostages.

Additionally, the U.S., has backed Israel’s move into Rafah, but only if a plan is created to keep civilians safe. Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he ordered his military to draft a plan to evacuate civilians before the invasion into Rafah, which borders Egypt and is the only location where humanitarian aid is going into Gaza consistently.

The president and Netanyahu have increasingly grown apart publicly about the direction of the war, with Biden continually asking Israel to be mindful of civilian casualties and calling Israel’s response in Gaza “over the top.”

And Netanyahu earlier this month rejected Hamas’s proposal for a hostage deal, which would have secured the release of Israeli hostages in exchange for a pause in fighting and other hard-line conditions. The framework laid out called for the withdrawal of all Israeli troops from Gaza.

Source: The Hill

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