Biden: Gaza cease-fire could come by 'end of the weekend'

UPI
President Joe Biden told reporters Monday that an Israel-Hamas cease-fire is “close,” saying he hopes to see a Gaza cease-fire “by next Monday." Biden's brief remarks followed an appearance on "Late Night with Seth Meyers" in New York City, where dozens of pro-Palestinian protesters gathered outside 30 Rockefeller Center. Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI
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Feb. 26 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden told reporters Monday an Israel-Hamas cease-fire is "close," saying he hopes to see a halt in the fighting "by next Monday."

Biden made the statement during brief comments at Van Leeuwen's ice cream shop in New York City after visiting NBC "Late Night" and host Seth Meyers.

"I hope by the end of the weekend," the president said. "My national security advisor tells me that we're close. It's not done yet. My hope is by next Monday we'll have a cease-fire."

Pro-Palestinian protesters gathered at New York's 30 Rockefeller Plaza on Monday in anticipation of Biden's taping on "Late Night with Seth Meyers."

According to the group Jewish Voice for Peace NYC, more than 50 protesters were arrested after entering the building to disrupt the president's appearance on the late night show, as they called on Biden to "stop supporting the Israeli government's genocide against Palestinians in Gaza."

U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday that negotiators meeting in Paris have agreed to the basics of a deal that would release the remaining Israeli hostages in exchange for a cease-fire.

"That work is underway and we hope that in the coming days we can drive to a point where there is actually a firm and final agreement on this issue, but we will have to wait and see," Sullivan said.

The negotiations involved Israel, the United States, Egypt and Qatar. Sullivan said it would ultimately be up to Hamas to release the Israeli hostages.

"We would like to see this deal get done. We would like to see the hostages returned, including American hostages," Sullivan added.

Israel declared war in Gaza after the Oct. 7 Hamas terror attack that killed nearly 1,200 Israelis and took another 240 hostage. Since then, the health ministry in Gaza said Monday close to 30,000 people have been killed in the Palestinian territory.