Biden Suggests Israel-Hamas Deal Is Imminent. Nobody Seems To Know What He’s Talking About.

February 27, 2024

After President Joe Biden on Monday suggested that a ceasefire deal in the war between Israel and Hamas was imminent, several parties in the negotiations appeared to cast doubt on his comment.

"My national security adviser tells me that we're close," Biden told reporters in New York. "We're close. We're not done yet. My hope is by next Monday we'll have a ceasefire."

Representatives from Hamas, Israel, and mediator Qatar, however, all reportedly said that his optimism was exaggerated.

"The primary and main issues of the ceasefire and the withdrawal of Israeli forces are not clearly stated, which delays reaching an agreement," two anonymous senior Hamas officials told Reuters Tuesday. They added that there are "still big gaps to be bridged."

Additionally, the Israeli Ynet News website cited unnamed senior Israeli officials who said they don't know "what Biden's optimism is based on."

A spokesman for Qatar's foreign affairs ministry also said the two sides needed to work to bring themselves closer together on a ceasefire deal.

"We don't have a final agreement on any of the issues that are hampering reaching an agreement," Qatar's Majed al-Ansari said, according to Reuters. "We remain hopeful, not necessarily optimistic that we can announce something today or tomorrow. But we remain hopeful that we can get to some kind of agreement."

The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

A reported framework of the deal includes a 40-day truce that would see Hamas release about 40 Israeli hostages—mostly women, people under 19 and over 50, as well as sick people—and the Jewish state let go of 400 Palestinian prisoners, per Reuters. Israel's military would also withdraw from populated areas in Gaza and allow Gazans who are not men of fighting age to return home.

Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas in response to the group's Oct. 7 terror attacks. Hamas has also said that it will not release the hostages it took without a framework to permanently end the war.