Biden pledges to stop Gaza war escalating in region as he’s given state visit to France

President Joe Biden vowed on Saturday to push for a ceasefire stop the Israel-Hamas war from escalating into a regional crisis during a state visit to France.

"We won’t stop working until all the hostages come home and a ceasefire is reached," Biden said at the Elysee presidential palace in Paris.

“We are redoubling efforts together to avoid a regional explosion, particularly in Lebanon,” French presiden Emmanual Macron added.

Since October, Israel and the Iran-backed militia movement Hezbollah in Lebanon have been trading cross-border strikes.

The comments came as Israel announced it freed four hostages taken by Hamas at a music festival during the militant group’s suprise attack on October 7 that ignited Israel-Gaza war. More than 210 Palestinians were reported killed in fighting around Nuseirat, where the rescue occured.

The White House has continued to push for a ceasefire in the conflict in Gaza.

Brigitte Macron, Joe Biden and Emmanuel Macron,share a toast during a state dinner at the Elysee Palace in Paris (AP)
Brigitte Macron, Joe Biden and Emmanuel Macron,share a toast during a state dinner at the Elysee Palace in Paris (AP)

In late May, President Biden unilaterally revealed what he said was an Israel-backed proposal to stop the conflict, seen by observers as an attempt to ratchet up pressure on Israel and Hamas to make a deal.

The proposal called for a six week temporary ceasefire, the release of some hostages, and the withdrawal of the Israeli military from populated areas of Gaza, with mediators to seek an eventual “permanent end to hostilities.”

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in response to the proposal, said he wouldn’t agree to a permanent ceasefire in Gaza unless Hamas is no longer in military or government power, a position the group considers a non-starter.

The US has consistently voiced its concern over the war effort and the staggering civilian death toll of Israel’s operations in Gaza, but has continued to arm the US ally, which seems little impacted by White House rhetoric.

In May, the State Department concluded it was “reasonable to assess” Israel used American arms in ways that are “inconsistent” with international law. The International Criminal Court has also called for the arrest of Netanyahu, one of his government ministers, and the leaders of Hamas, accusing them of war crimes.

The White House, earlier this month, warned Israel it might pause weapons shipments if Netanyahu crossed Biden’s red line and initiatied a full-scale invasion of Rafah, a southern city where over 1 million Palestinians were forced to flee to as Israel invaded northern Gaza.

The US did pause a weapons shipment over its Rafah concerns, but has continued to provide materiel to Israel as its Rafah offensive got underway.

As The Independent has reported, the Biden administration also ignored persistent internal and external warnings that Israel was creating a famine in Gaza.

The UN warned this week that over 1 million people in Gaza could face famine-like conditions by the middle of this month.

Israel has reportedly killed at least 36,000 Palestinians in the conflict so far, the majority of them civilians.