Biden shanks Israel, says Gaza ceasefire could be done by early next week

Ice cream parlor promises from the president left Israel in the lurch with a “big announcement” on Gaza “by next Monday.”

(Video: CNN)

The catchphrase “Only in New York” played out in Midtown Monday as President Joe Biden arrived for a media appearance. There, as his border crisis wreaked havoc on the Big Apple and Hamas sympathizing protesters filled the lobby of 30 Rock, instead of meeting with government officials the commander-in-chief took time to recognize the 10 year anniversary of Seth Meyer’s hosting NBC’s “Late Show.”

As part of the visit, Biden joined the late night host at a nearby ice cream shop where he surprised even CNN’s Jake Tapper when asked about a ceasefire in Gaza.

“Well, I hope by the beginning of the week, I mean the end of the weekend,” said the president after stalling in bringing his ice cream cone to his mouth. “My national security adviser tells me that we’re close, we’re close, we’re not done yet. My hope is by next Monday we’ll have a ceasefire.”

Bringing reporter MJ Lee on “The Lead,” Tapper remarked, “MJ, that’s a big announcement from the president to be given in an ice cream shop. What role is the U.S. playing here?”

“Yeah, sometimes, Jake, as you know, big news comes from the president when he’s talking freely with reporters in that kind of setting precisely,” she said before recapping, “But the president appearing to say that he is hopeful and optimistic that the pause, a ceasefire, that a lot of the negotiators had been working towards, could begin by the end of the weekend, he said perhaps by Monday.”

Meyers also brought the matter of a ceasefire up in the studio leading Biden to assert, “There is a path forward, with difficulty.”

Only a day after a U.S. service member had been seen setting himself on fire in front of the Israeli embassy in Washington, D.C. shouting “Free Palestine,” and with protesters present demanding the same, the president made note of the hostages before indicating that the timeline he hoped to meet was related to the upcoming Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

“First of all — the hostages being held must be released,” he told the host. “Ramadan’s coming up and there has been an agreement by the Israelis that they would not engage in activities during Ramadan as well, in order to give us time to get all the hostages out.”

There was no mention of the fact that a ceasefire had been in place on Oct. 7 when Islamic extremists invaded southern Israel and slaughtered hundreds, many of whom they had also brutally raped and mutilated.

Instead, Biden appeared poised to undercut Israel’s intent to begin their ground incursion into southern Gaza and said to Meyers, “They also have to take advantage of the opportunity to have peace and security for Israelis and Palestinians, who are being used as pawns by Hamas.”

“I think if we get that temporary ceasefire, we’re going to be able to move in a direction where we can change the dynamic and have a two state solution — not immediately — but a process to get to a two state solution,” the president added.

Lee also noted to Tapper that any upcoming ceasefire would be the first since November when some hostages had been released in limited numbers until Hamas ultimately renewed the conflict. “It would be an incredibly significant development, of course, because it would be the first cessation in the fighting in the Israel-Hamas war since that first seven-day truce we saw at the end of November.”

Kevin Haggerty

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