A ceasefire between Israel and Gaza Strip-based Palestinian Islamic Jihad appears to be holding since it went into effect at 11:30 p.m. on Sunday.
The deal, brokered by Egypt and Qatar, was praised by U.S. President Joe Biden Sunday for bringing nearly three days of conflict to a halt.
In a statement, Biden affirmed his support for Israel’s right to self-defense and praised the Iron Dome missile defense system.
“My support for Israel’s security is long-standing and unwavering—including its right to defend itself against attacks,” the statement said. “[T]he United States is proud of our support for Israel’s Iron Dome, which intercepted hundreds of rockets and saved countless lives.”
Biden also expressed his concern about civilian casualties in Gaza from Israeli airstrikes and PIJ rockets falling within Gaza and called for an investigation into such reports.
“The reports of civilian casualties in Gaza are a tragedy, whether by Israeli strikes against Islamic Jihad positions or the dozens of Islamic Jihad rockets that reportedly fell inside Gaza,” said Biden. “My administration supports a timely and thorough investigation into all of these reports.”
“Israelis and Palestinians both deserve to live safely and securely and to enjoy equal measures of freedom, prosperity, and democracy,” he added. “My Administration will remain engaged with Israeli and Palestinian leaders to support that vision and to implement the initiatives launched during my visit to improve the quality of life for Palestinians and Israelis alike.”
Biden also commended Prime Minister Yair Lapid and his government for their “steady leadership throughout the crisis.”
Before implementing the ceasefire, Lapid’s office stressed that if it’s violated, “Israel maintains the right to respond strongly. We will not allow any disruption to the lives of the citizens of the State of Israel.”