US President Joe Biden said in a statement released on Wednesday night that he remains committed to the return of all the hostages still held by Hamas.
“Today, 16 more people have been returned to their families after being held hostage by Hamas for more than 50 days. Among them, is Liat Beinin—a high school teacher, a guide at Israel’s Holocaust Museum Yad Vashem, and an American. Jill and I are deeply gratified that she will soon be reunited with her three children and her father, who have been wracked with worry for her safety,” Biden said.
He added that “we remain determined to secure the release of every person taken hostage by Hamas during its brutal terrorist assault on Israel on October 7, including Liat’s husband Aviv.”
Biden welcomed the deal to pause the fighting in Gaza and bring about the release of hostages, saying it “has delivered meaningful results.”
“Nearly 100 hostages have been returned to their loved ones. And the United States has led the international community to use this pause to accelerate the delivery of additional humanitarian assistance into Gaza. More than 200 trucks loaded with aid, including food, water, medicine, shelter supplies, fuel, and cooking gas, have entered Gaza each of the last few days. For the first time since this conflict began, aid reached northern Gaza. And yesterday, the United States airlifted more than 54,000 pounds of medical equipment and food aid to the humanitarian distribution center in Egypt—the first of three deliveries of critical supplies that will go to civilians in Gaza who need our help,” he added.
“I thank Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel, Amir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani of Qatar, and President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi of Egypt for their continued partnership in this process and their ongoing commitment to bring every hostage home and to get more aid to the innocent people of Gaza,” concluded Biden.
Vice President Kamala Harris also commented on the release of Beinin and wrote, “Doug and I are grateful that Liat Beinin, an American citizen held by Hamas in Gaza, was released. The pause in fighting has delivered results — and we will continue to work to secure the release of all hostages and surge assistance into Gaza.”
Beinin-Atzili becomes the second dual US-Israeli citizen to be freed by Hamas. Earlier this week, four-year-old Avigail Idan, whose parents were both murdered in the Hamas massacre on October 7, was released.
The White House has said three Americans were expected to be among the 50 hostages Hamas would release over the course of the truce. After the releases of Idan and Beinin-Atzili, one more woman is still held captive by Hamas.
Earlier this week, a senior Biden administration official said the White House does not believe Hamas purposefully held back American hostages.
Meanwhile, the War Cabinet gathered on Wednesday night for a discussion on the efforts to extend the ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas.
Parallel to the discussion, the mediators submitted a list of hostages to be freed that violates the agreement, and officials in Israel made clear that Hamas needs to amend it in order to comply with it.
An Israeli official stressed that if the list of hostages handed over by Hamas does not change by 7:00 a.m., Israel will resume the fighting in Gaza.