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Biden commends cease-fire in Middle East conflict

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President Biden welcomed news of a cease-fire, saying Thursday that Palestinians and Israelis "equally deserve" freedom, prosperity and democracy. Ed O’Keefe reports.

Video Transcript

- And let's go now to the White House. President Biden spoke just a short while ago, saying he sees a genuine opportunity for progress towards peace in the Middle East. We get more now from CBS's Ed O'Keefe.

ED O'KEEFE: President Biden tonight welcomed the news of a Middle East cease fire.

JOE BIDEN: And I send my sincere condolences to all the families, Israeli and Palestinian, who have lost loved ones and my hope for a full recovery for the wounded.

ED O'KEEFE: Until tonight, the president has said very little in public about the violence.

JOE BIDEN: I believe the Palestinians and Israelis equally deserve to live safely and securely and to enjoy equal measures of freedom, prosperity, and democracy.

ED O'KEEFE: The White House has focused in recent days on what it calls quiet, intensive diplomacy behind the scenes.

JOE BIDEN: I believe we have a genuine opportunity to make progress, and I'm committed to working for it.

ED O'KEEFE: Mr. Biden has spoken with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu six times since the violence began and today with the president of Egypt, part of the administration's more than 80 calls to Mideast leaders in the past week.

Also, today here at the White House, the president signed legislation designed to address those anti-Asian attacks, the thousands that have occurred since the pandemic began. The law passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. It helps the Justice Department investigate hate crimes and help states establish hotlines to report them. Nora?

- All right, Ed O'Keefe at the White House. Thank you.