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US vice president calls for ‘immediate ceasefire’ in Gaza

By AFP - Mar 04,2024 - Last updated at Mar 04,2024

SELMA, United States — US Vice President Kamala Harris called on Sunday for a proposed six-week ceasefire deal in the Hamas-Israel war to be accepted, while criticising Israel over insufficient aid deliveries into Gaza.

“Given the immense scale of suffering in Gaza, there must be an immediate ceasefire for at least the next six weeks, which is what is currently on the table,” Harris said during a speech in Selma, Alabama.

A senior US official on Saturday had said that Israel had broadly accepted the deal, which would see a six-week cessation of hostilities if Hamas agrees to release the most vulnerable hostages it holds.

“This will get the hostages out and get a significant amount of aid in,” Harris said, calling on Hamas to accept the deal.

“Hamas claims it wants a ceasefire. Well, there is a deal on the table. And as we have said, Hamas needs to agree to that deal.”

She also issued the sharpest criticism to date of Israel by a top US official, calling on the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to take steps to increase aid into Gaza.

“The Israeli government must do more to significantly increase the flow of aid. No excuses,” Harris said.

She added that Israel “must open new border crossings” and “must not impose any unnecessary restrictions on the delivery of aid”.

Harris delivered her remarks at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where a march by hundreds of peaceful activists was violently suppressed by police on March 7, 1965.

The event, known as “Bloody Sunday”, further catalyzed support for Black rights and helped lead a few months later to the passage of the Voting Rights Act, a federal law prohibiting racial discrimination in voting.

 

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