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Biden, Jordan’s King Abdullah disagree on Israel-Hamas cease-fire terms in White House meeting

Jordan's King Abdullah II (L) and U.S. President Joe Biden deliver remarks Monday following a meeting at the White House in Washington, D.C., where the two leaders disagreed over key issues in Israel's war in Gaza. Photo by Chris Kleponis/ UPI

1 of 5 | Jordan’s King Abdullah II (L) and U.S. President Joe Biden deliver remarks Monday following a meeting at the White House in Washington, D.C., where the two leaders disagreed over key issues in Israel’s war in Gaza. Photo by Chris Kleponis/ UPI | License Photo

Feb. 12 (UPI) — President Joe Biden met with Jordan’s King Abdullah II at the White House on Monday as the two leaders disagreed over key issues in Israel’s war in Gaza.

While Biden reiterated his opposition to a permanent cease-fire in the region, Abdullah called for an immediate end to the war, adding that a ground operation in Rafah would be devastating.

“We cannot afford an Israeli attack on Rafah. It is certain to produce another humanitarian catastrophe,” Abdullah warned. “The situation is already unbearable for over a million people who have been pushed into Rafah since the war started.”

“We cannot stand by and let this continue. We need a lasting cease-fire now. This war must end,” said Abdullah.

Israel’s war in Gaza follows the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks that killed approximately 1,200 Israelis, with more than 250 others taken hostage, in what Biden called the “deadliest day for the Jewish people since the Holocaust.” To date, more than 27,000 Palestinians have been killed in the conflict, according to the White House.

On Monday, Israel rescued two male Israeli hostages from Rafah in southern Gaza.

“After 128 days, Fernando Simon Marian and Louis Har are now reunited with their families where they belong,” according to White House National Security Communications Advisor John Kirby, who added that Monday’s meeting between Biden and Abdullah marked the 75th year of diplomatic relations between Jordan and the United States.

While Abdullah advocated Monday for a permanent cease-fire, Biden suggested a six-week pause in fighting that would include a hostage deal between Israel and Hamas.

“The key elements of the deal are on the table. There are gaps that remain — but I’ve encouraged Israeli leaders to keep working to achieve the deal. The United States will do everything possible to make it happen,” Biden said, adding that he has spoken with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as leaders of Egypt and Qatar, to “push this forward.”

“I’ve made clear the United States shares the goal of seeing Hamas defeated and ensuring long-term security for Israel and its people,” Biden told reporters after the meeting, during which both leaders agreed that they opposed “any forced displacement of Palestinians from Gaza.”

“The potential threat of Palestinian displacement beyond the borders of Gaza and the West Bank is something we view with extreme concern and cannot be allowed,” Abdullah said. “At the same time, we must not ignore the situation in the West Bank and in the holy sites of Jerusalem.”

The two leaders also discussed how to get more humanitarian aid into the region, as Biden congratulated Abdullah for his work.

A few days ago, “he personally got in a plane and helped conduct an airdrop of urgently needed medical supplies into Gaza. I understand that two of his children have also joined those airdrops. They helped fly humanitarian supplies in.”

Biden and Abdullah agreed that Israel should not proceed with an offensive in Rafah “without a credible plan” to protect civilians. And they agreed to what the future of Gaza should look like “once Hamas’ control of Gaza is over.”

“They must prepare to build a state that accepts peace, does not harbor terrorist groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad,” Biden said, as Abdullah concurred.

“We must make sure the horrors of the past few months since Oct. 7 are never repeated, nor accepted by any human being.”

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