The US President Joe Biden has voiced support for a humanitarian “pause” to Israel’s war in Gaza as the United States presses to evacuate all Americans trapped in the besieged Palestinian enclave.
“I think we need a pause,” Biden said during a campaign speech on Wednesday, after being interrupted by a protester who urged for an immediate ceasefire.
When asked what a pause meant, Biden said it was “time to get the prisoners out” – a reference to the captives held by Hamas, the group that rules Gaza, the White House later clarified.
The US president’s remarks marked a shift in the position of the White House, which has previously said it would not dictate how Israel conducts its military operations.
“We’re not drawing red lines for Israel,” White House spokesperson John Kirby said last week. “We’re going to continue to support them.”
On Friday, the US was one of only 14 countries in the United Nations to vote “no” to a resolution in the General Assembly calling for a “ceasefire”.