Kamala Harris Calls for ‘Immediate Ceasefire’ in Gaza

Vice President Kamala Harris called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, calling on Hamas to accept a deal currently “on the table” and pressing Israel to allow additional aid into the area. Harris called the current conditions in Gaza “inhumane” and a “humanitarian catastrophe.” United Nations experts have warned that famine is imminent.

“Given the immense scale of suffering in Gaza, there must be an immediate ceasefire for at least the next six weeks, which is what is currently on the table,” Harris said during remarks in Selma, Ala., to mark the anniversary of “Bloody Sunday,” when police beat peaceful protesters during a 1965 civil rights march.

“People in Gaza are starving. The conditions are inhumane and our common humanity compels us to act,” Harris said. “The Israeli government must do more to significantly increase the flow of aid. No excuses.”

The move comes amid pressure from progressives in Congress and the public to halt the assault on Gaza. Since Oct. 7, when Hamas militants killed approximately 1,200 Israelis, Israel’s military has killed more than 30,000 Palestinians, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. Biden early last week said he hoped for a ceasefire agreement by Monday. This past Thursday, more than 100 Palestinians lining up for food aid were killed when Israeli forces opened fire. Biden said that day that the incident complicated ceasefire talks.

“We’re trying to work out a deal between Israel and Hamas on the hostages being returned and immediate ceasefire in Gaza for at least the next six weeks and to allow the surge of aid through the entire Gaza Strip,” the president said Friday.

Biden expressed hope that the sides could reach a deal before the beginning of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month that starts on March 10. The deal under discussion, with moderation from Qatar and Egypt, would have Hamas free approximately 40 Israeli hostages — including women, female soldiers, and men over the age of 50 or men who are in serious medical condition, Axios reported.

For its part of the deal, in addition to pausing hostilities, Israel would allow Palestinians to return to the northern Gaza strip. It is unclear how many Palestinian prisoners Hamas plans to ask for in return. Israel has an estimated 7,000 Palestinians in custody in its prisons, and many are without charges, according to human rights groups. The majority have never been convicted of a crime. As many as 134 hostages are currently being held by Hamas. Another 32 are confirmed dead. Hamas has refused to release a complete list of hostages that are currently alive, which led Israel to boycott peace talks on Sunday.

“Hamas claims its wants a ceasefire. Well, there is a deal on the table. And as we have said, Hamas needs to agree to that deal,” Harris said Sunday. “Let’s get a ceasefire. Let’s reunite the hostages with their families. And let’s provide immediate relief to the people of Gaza.”

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