US President Biden pushes ceasefire deal in Eid al-Adha message, as Gaza war persists

US President Biden pushes ceasefire deal in Eid al-Adha message, as Gaza war persists
The US President used the occasion of Eid al-Adha to push for a ceasefire deal in Gaza, and advocated for persecuted Muslim communities' right globally.
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Biden has urged Hamas to accept a three-phase deal in his Eid al-Adha speech [Getty/file photo]

President Joe Biden used his Eid al-Adha message to Muslims to advocate a US-backed ceasefire deal in Gaza, saying Sunday it was the best way to help civilians suffering the "horrors of war between Hamas and Israel."

"Too many innocent people have been killed, including thousands of children. Families have fled their homes and seen their communities destroyed. Their pain is immense," Biden said in a statement.

"I strongly believe that the three-phase ceasefire proposal Israel has made to Hamas and that the UN Security Council has endorsed is the best way to end the violence in Gaza and ultimately end the war," he added.

Hamas official Ghazi Hamad said the group accepted the proposal last week, but has drawn back from full acceptance after it became clear that Israel did not accept a permanent ceasefire. The US has gone on to place blame Hamas for failing to agree to the deal.

Israel has been pounding the Gaza Strip relentlessly for over eight months, killing scores of Palestinians each day. At least 37,337 Palestinians have been killed as of Sunday, and 85,299 have also been wounded since the war started on October 7.

The United States has been pressing Israel and Hamas to formally accept the ceasefire deal greenlighted by Security Council members last week, which would allow an initial six-week pause to fighting. The deal, however, has not been implemented.

Eid al-Adha, the Islamic festival which marks the prophet Ibrahim's willingness to sacrifice his son to God, saw a "tactical pause of military activity" around a Rafah-area route to facilitate the delivery of desperately needed humanitarian aid to Gazans.

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Air strikes continued to hit the enclave, however, killing dozens of Palestinians amid the sombre Eid festivities.

The president also highlighted American efforts to "advocate for the rights of other Muslim communities" facing persecution, including the Rohingya in Myanmar and the Uyghurs in China.

He said "we're also working to bring a peaceful resolution to the horrific conflict in Sudan," which has been gripped by fighting between the country's army and a rival paramilitary group since April 2023.

On the domestic front, Biden's message Sunday also promised a crackdown on Islamophobia in a direct appeal to American Muslims, a key voting demographic in the Democrat's reelection bid against Republican rival Donald Trump.

"My Administration is creating a national strategy to counter Islamophobia and related forms of bias and discrimination, which affect not only Muslims, but also Arab, Sikh, and South Asian Americans," Biden said.