US President Joe Biden has said that there is a “real” chance that the four-day truce currently in force in Gaza could be extended, refusing to speculate on how long the current cycle of violence would actually last.
“I think the chances are real,” Biden told reporters on Friday. “My expectation and hope is that as we move forward, the rest of the Arab world and the region is also putting pressure on all sides to slow this down, to bring this to an end as quickly as we can.”
Reiterating the US’ support for Israel, Biden said that “eliminating” Hamas remains a “legitimate” goal for Israel and that he “encouraged” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to limit civilian casualties.
Since Israel began its genocidal Gaza campaign on October 7, they have killed over 15,000 Palestinians, including 6,000 children.
A four-day truce entered into effect on Friday morning, entrailing the release of prisoners on both sides.
Under the terms, 50 women and children held in Gaza are to be released over the four days in exchange for 150 Palestinian women and children held in Israeli jails.
The first day saw the release of 24 of Hamas’s captives in exchange for 39 Palestinians, with a second set of prisoners set to be exchanged on Saturday.
“It’s only a start, but so far it’s gone well,” Biden said following the release of Hamas captives.
Hamas has said its non-civilian captives would only be released in exchange for the thousands of Palestinians that have been in Israeli prisons for years.
The truce has also allowed much-needed humanitarian aid to enter the besieged strip, which has suffered food, electricity, and medical shortages as a result of Israel’s genocidal campaign.
Efforts are still ongoing for a full ceasefire. Most recently, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and his Belgian counterpart Alexander De Croo both advocated for a full ceasefire to end the suffering of civilians in Gaza.