Kamala Harris calls for 'immediate cease-fire' in Gaza

Vice President Kamala Harris visits the Edmund Pettus Bridge to commemorate the 59th anniversary of Bloody Sunday on Sunday, in Selma, Ala. Photo by Christian Monterrosa/UPI
1 of 3 | Vice President Kamala Harris visits the Edmund Pettus Bridge to commemorate the 59th anniversary of Bloody Sunday on Sunday, in Selma, Ala. Photo by Christian Monterrosa/UPI | License Photo

March 4 (UPI) -- Vice President Kamala Harris on Sunday called for "an immediate cease-fire" in the fighting in Gaza, as a proposal to halt the war has been presented to Hamas.

Harris made the remarks while in Selma, Ala., on Sunday amid the White House's full-court press to enact a six-week cease-fire in Gaza that would permit the safe distribution of much-needed aid in the Palestinian enclave while seeing the roughly 150 Israeli hostages still held by Hamas released.


"Given the immense scale of suffering in Gaza, there must be an immediate cease-fire," Harris said to applause from the crowd at Edmund Pettus Bridge, "for at least the next six weeks, which is what is currently on the table."

This will get the hostages out and get a significant amount of aid in. This would allow us to build something more enduring to ensure Israel is more secure and to respect the right of the Palestinian people to dignity, freedom and self-determination."


U.S. officials have said that a six-week cease-fire has been presented to both sides.

On Saturday, a senior Biden administration official told reporters that Israel has "basically" signed off on the agreement.

"And right now, the ball is in the court of Hamas," the official said.

Harris on Sunday called on Hamas to accept the deal.

"Hamas claims it wants a cease-fire. Well, there is a deal on the table. And as we have said, Hamas needs to agree to that deal," she said.

"Let's get a cease-fire. Let's reunite the hostages with their families. And let's provide immediate relief to the people of Gaza."

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., remarked online that "this is the first time this language has been used by the Biden administration.

"It is important," she said. "Now, let's back it up with policy shift."

The call was made as the Biden administration has come under criticism from its own party for its support of Israel's war, while the Biden administration has increased its public criticism of Israel, especially after more than 100 civilians were killed on Thursday while waiting in line for aid.


Harris, who was in Selma for the 59th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, described the situation in Gaza as "devastating" and a "humanitarian crisis."

"People in Gaza are starving. The conditions are inhumane. And our common humanity compels us to act," she said.

"And the Israeli government must do more to significantly increase the flow of aid. No excuses," she said. "They must open new border crossings. They must not impose any unnecessary restrictions on the delivery of aid. They must ensure humanitarian personnel, sites and convoys are not targeted. And they must work to restore basic services and promote order in Gaza so more food, water, and fuel can reach those in need."

On Friday, Biden announced the start of airdropping missions of U.S. humanitarian aid into Gaza, with the first airdrop having occurred Saturday.

The war in Gaza began Oct. 7, when Hamas launched a bloody attack on Israel that killed some 1,200 people.

Israel has responded with nearly five months of indiscriminate bombing and a ground invasion that has killed some 30,000 Palestinians, mostly women and children while displacing the majority of Gaza's 2.2 million people.

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