FACT CHECK: Did Joe Biden Convince Benjamin Netanyahu To Call For A Cease-Fire To Get Hostages Out Of Gaza?

Elias Atienza | Senior Reporter

President Joe Biden claimed that he convinced Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to call for a cease-fire to get hostages out of Gaza and Egyptian President Abel El-Sisi to open “the door.”

Verdict: Unsubstantiated

Netanyahu has rejected calls for cease-fires. The White House said Biden was referring to a temporary pause in the fighting to allow a few hostages to leave Gaza.

Fact Check:

Biden called for a pause in the fighting between Hamas, the terrorist organization that controls the Gaza Strip, and Israel in order to get hostages out of Gaza, according to NBC News. Hamas currently holds 239 hostages, taking them during its Oct. attack on Israel, the outlet reported.

During the speech, Biden said that he “convinced Bibi to call for that ceasefire to let the prisoners out.”

“I’m going to say something that’s both revealing and self-serving at the same time. I’m the guy that convinced Bibi to call for that ceasefire to let the prisoners out. I’m the guy that spent all the time talking to El-Sisi to let him open the — open the door into Egypt,” Biden said.

Netanyahu, however, explicitly has rejected calls for a cease-fire with Hamas. In an Oct. 30 press conference, he rejected the call for a cease-fire, comparing it to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that caused the U.S. to enter World War II, according to The New York Times.

“Just as the United States would not agree to a cease-fire after the bombing of Pearl Harbor or after the terrorist attack of 9/11, Israel will not agree to a cessation of hostilities with Hamas after the horrific attacks of Oct. 7,” Netanyahu said. He also said that “calls for a cease-fire are calls for Israel to surrender to Hamas, to surrender to terrorism, to surrender to barbarism. This will not happen,” the Times reported.

Netanyahu did say during a meeting with the hostages’ families that the option of Israel swapping Palestinian prisoners for the hostages was on the table, though he did not give any further details, according to the Times of Israel. Negotiations for the freeing of all the hostages held by Hamas continue, NBC News reported Nov. 2. (RELATED: Fact Checking Videos, Images And Posts From The October Hamas Attack On Israel)

The White House told Check Your Fact that Biden was referring to him purportedly convincing Netanyahu to temporarily stop fighting to allow two hostages to get out of Gaza last week. The Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, said that they had released the hostages for “compelling humanitarian” reasons, according to NBC News. The International Committee of the Red Cross said it “facilitated” the transport of the hostages out of Gaza, the outlet reported. 

“ICRC teams served as a neutral intermediary both times Hamas released hostages, transporting the four individuals from Hamas back to their families. We would not have agreed to carry out that humanitarian action without agreements from the side that it could be safely carried out,” an ICRC spokesperson told Check Your Fact in an email.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said during a Nov. 3 press briefing that a temporary pause in the fighting was necessary to get hostages out.

“But in order to move hostages from where they were being held to safety, it does require a — a short pause in the fighting so that you can do it safely.  I mean, why wouldn’t you?  I mean, it — it would be — it would be completely unsafe and irresponsible if you weren’t trying to find some safe passage for hostages you got released while there’s a — an area of combat going on,” Kirby said.

Biden’s reference to “open the door into Egypt” appears to be the deal that allowed foreign nationals and some Palestinians to cross from Gaza into Egypt at the Rafah border crossing. CNN reported that the deal was brokered by “Qatar between Israel, Hamas and Egypt, in coordination with the U.S.” and cited sources familiar. (RELATED: X Post Misleads On Mutiny In Israeli Air Force)

Biden said “American leadership” helped to secure “safe passage” for these individuals.

“Today, thanks to American leadership, we secured safe passage for wounded Palestinians and for foreign nationals to exit Gaza. We expect American citizens to exit today, and we expect to see more depart over the coming days. We won’t let up working to get Americans out of Gaza,” Biden tweeted.

The IDF referred Check Your Fact to Netanyahu’s office. Check Your Fact reached out to Netanyahu’s office for comment.

Elias Atienza

Senior Reporter
Follow Elias on Twitter Have a fact check suggestion? Send ideas to [email protected].