Full Text of Joe Biden's Statements on Israel and Hamas Cease-Fire

President Joe Biden spoke about his phone calls with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi on Thursday evening while an "unconditional" cease-fire to end the recent conflict in Gaza was set to go into effect within hours.

News of the cease-fire broke shortly before Biden spoke. The 11-day conflict, which pitted Israel against Hamas and other groups in Gaza, claimed the lives of at least 230 Palestinians and 12 people in Israel, according to the Associated Press. There were 65 children among the Palestinian dead, along with two children killed in Israel.

Biden reiterated that the U.S. "fully supports Israel's right to defend itself against indiscriminate rocket attacks from Hamas and other Gaza-based terrorist groups" during his speech, while insisting that he believes "the Palestinians and Israelis equally deserve to live safely and securely and to enjoy equal measures of freedom, prosperity and democracy."

Joe Biden Full Text Israel Gaza Hamas
President Joe Biden delivers remarks about the cease-fire between Israel and Hamas from the White House in Washington, D.C. on May 20, 2021. NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty

Read the full text of Biden's speech below:

I just spoke with Prime Minister Netanyahu. Earlier today I spoke with President as-Sisi of Egypt. Prime Minister Netanyahu informed me that Israel is agreed to a mutual, unconditional cease-fire to begin in less than two hours. The Egyptians have now informed us that Hamas and the other groups in Gaza have also agreed. In my conversation with President Netanyahu, I commended him for the decision to bring the current hostilities to a close in less than 11 days. I also emphasize what I've said throughout this conflict: The United States fully supports Israel's right to defend itself against indiscriminate rocket attacks from Hamas and other Gaza-based terrorist groups that have taken the lives of innocent civilians in Israel.

The prime minister also shared with me his appreciation for the Iron Dome system, which our nations developed together and which has saved lives of countless Israeli citizens, both Arab and Jew. I assured him of my full support to replenish Israel's Iron Dome system to ensure defenses and security in the future. Over the last 11 days, I've spoken the Prime Minister six times. I've also spoken President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority as part of our intense diplomatic engagement. And I want to also thank the secretary of state, the secretary of defense and our national security advisor and everyone on our team for their incredible efforts to bring this about, this outcome that we're about to see.

You know, we've held intensive high level discussions, hour by hour, literally. [Discussions with] Egypt, the Palestinian Authority and other Middle Eastern countries, with an aim of avoiding the sort of prolonged conflict we've seen in previous years when hostilities broken out. I extend my sincere gratitude to President al-Sisi and the senior Egyptian officials who played such a critical role in this diplomacy. I also appreciate the contributions of other parties in the region who have been engaged in working toward the end of hostilities. These hostilities have resulted in the tragic deaths of so many civilians, including children. 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.

The United States is committed to working with the United Nations. And we remain committed to work with the United Nations and other international stakeholders to provide rapid humanitarian assistance and to marshal international support for the people of Gaza and the Gaza reconstruction efforts. We will do this in full partnership with the Palestinian Authority, not Hamas. Authority, in a manner that does not permit Hamas to simply restock its military arsenal. I believe the Palestinians and Israelis equally deserve to live safely and securely and to enjoy equal measures of freedom, prosperity and democracy. My administration will continue our quiet relentless diplomacy toward that end. I believe we have a genuine opportunity to make progress. And I've committed to work in for it. I want to thank you all. May God bless you all and pray that this continues. Thank you so much.