Watch — Ice Cream Diplomacy: Biden Hopes for Israel-Hamas Ceasefire by Monday

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Jim WATSON / AFP via Getty

President Joe Biden hopes for a ceasefire “by next Monday” in the Israel-Hamas war, pausing to offer his reflections while enjoying another much-favored ice cream break.

His comments, made after taping an appearance with talk show host Seth Meyers,  followed reports of some progress reached in ongoing negotiations involving Israel and Hamas terrorist representatives in Qatar.

For its part, Israel quickly countered by saying the Netanyahu government has no idea “what his [Biden’s] optimism is based on.”

“My national security adviser tells me that we’re close,” Biden said. The octogenarian was speaking to reporters in New York City about the possible ceasefire.

“We’re close,” he said on Monday. “We’re not done yet. My hope is by next Monday we’ll have a ceasefire.”

A spokesman for the U.S. State Department said earlier “progress” had been made in negotiations to release the Israeli hostages in the last several days, but that it remained unclear whether Hamas terrorists would accept the latest proposed deal.

“We’ve had progress with the conversations we’ve had between Egypt, Israel, the United States and Qatar,” said spokesman Matthew Miller, the BBC reports.

Hamas official Ahmad Abdel-Hadi indicated that optimism on a deal was premature.

“The resistance is not interested in giving up any of its demands, and what is proposed does not meet what it had requested,” he reportedly told the Pan-Arab TV channel Al Mayadeen.

U..S President Joe Biden speaks with host Seth Meyers (off frame) as they enjoy an ice cream at Van Leeuwen Ice Cream after taping an episode of “Late Night with Seth Meyers” in New York City on February 26, 2024. (JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

Hamas has previously demanded Israel end the war as part of any deal, which Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu called “delusional.”

Roughly 130 hostages remain in Gaza, but Israel says about a quarter of them have died at the hands of the terrorist organization.

Despite Biden’s public optimism on a ceasefire, Israel’s Ynet news site cited an unnamed senior Israeli who countered comments on a Gaza truce being close at hand.

The official said he doesn’t understand “what his optimism is based on.”

Israeli officials yesterday said Hamas appeared set to reject the latest proposal by international mediators.

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