- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 20, 2021

The White House is encouraged by reports of a potential cease-fire in Israel’s ongoing conflict with the Palestinian militant group Hamas, press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday.

“We have seen reports of a move toward a potential cease-fire — that’s clearly encouraging,” Ms. Psaki told reporters. “Obviously, we can’t get ahead of any agreement that may be brokered.”

Ms. Psaki said President Biden spoke with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi on Thursday morning as countries in the region work to help end the fighting.

Mr. Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday that he expected to see a “significant de-escalation [Wednesday] on the path to a ceasefire,” according to the White House.

Mr. Netanyahu had said Wednesday he was determined to carry out Israel’s operation “until its aim is met.”

Ms. Psaki declined to say specifically whether Israel had met Mr. Biden’s deadline for action on Wednesday.

“I’m not going to give a public evaluation from the president of day-by-day actions,” she said. “What I can tell you is that we are continuing to work behind the scenes, through these 80 engagements with senior officials, to advocate for, to convey that they should be in a position now to start winding their operations down and that is what we are hopeful to see.”

An Egyptian intelligence official said a cease-fire was likely late Thursday or early Friday local time, according to The Associated Press.

• This article is based in part on wire service reports.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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