Biden hails Israel-Hamas ceasefire

President Joe Biden has pledged humanitarian and reconstruction aid for Gaza as he hailed a deal to end 11 days of fighting between Israel and Hamas in which he was criticised by fellow Democrats for not speaking out more forcefully against Israeli actions.

Biden, appearing briefly at the White House on Thursday night after news of the ceasefire agreement, also promised to replenish Israel’s Iron Dome missile defence system.

“We remain committed to work with the United Nations and other international stakeholders to provide rapid humanitarian assistance and to marshal international support for the people in Gaza and in the Gaza reconstruction efforts,” Biden said.

Biden said reconstruction aid for Gaza would be provided in partnership with the Palestinian Authority and not Hamas, which the United States labels a terrorist organisation.

But the Palestinian Authority, which is run by moderate President Mahmoud Abbas, governs only part of the occupied West Bank, while Hamas holds sway in the Gaza Strip.

Biden also used his remarks to defend his approach to handling the crisis after many Democratic lawmakers urged him to adjust his stance defending Israel’s right to self-defense and voiced displeasure with what they viewed as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s disproportionate response to Hamas rocket attacks.

Read the article in the Riverine Herald (AAP).