'I'm a Zionist,' says Biden, calls for peace efforts in Gaza

President Joe Biden has reiterated that he is a Zionist and said Israel must take advantage of an opportunity to have peace and security for Israelis and Palestinians.

"You need not be a Jew to be a Zionist. I'm a Zionist. Where there's no Israel, there's not a Jew in the world to be safe," Biden said on an appearance on "Late Night With Seth Meyers" on NBC late Monday.

"But here's the deal. They also have to take advantage of an opportunity to have peace and security for Israelis and Palestinians who are being used as pawns by Hamas," he said.

The president noted that there is a process underway.

"I think if we get that that temporary cease-fire, we're going to be able to move in a direction where we can change the dynamic" to have a two-state solution to guarantee Israel's security and independence of the Palestinians, said Biden.

Turning to a possible Israeli operation in Rafah, Biden said that the Israelis "made a commitment to me they're going see to it that there's the ability to evacuate significant portions of Rafah before they go and take out the remainder of Hamas."

He reiterated that there are too many innocent people that are being killed in Gaza.

Stating that Israel has had the overwhelming support of the vast majority of nations, Biden said, "If it keeps this up with this incredibly conservative government they have and Ben-Gvir and others, they’re going to lose support from around the world".

He was referring to Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir.

"And that is not in Israel's interest," he added.

The president also said that Israel would halt its war in Gaza during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan if a hostage-release deal is reached.

"Ramadan’s coming up and there has been an agreement by the Israelis that they would not engage in activities during Ramadan as well, in order to give us time to get all the hostages out," said Biden.

Earlier, he said he hoped a cease-fire would be reached by March 4.

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