Developments in the Middle East dominated the meeting of US President Joe Biden with King Abdullah of Jordan at the White House.

The US president said efforts were being made to reach an agreement to release hostages held in the Gaza Strip alongside a “cease” in hostilities lasting “at least six weeks” between Israel and Hamas. The new truce would also allow more humanitarian aid to be distributed to the civilian population of the Palestinian enclave.

President Biden also emphasized that Israel must protect the civilians crowding Rafah in the event of a large-scale military operation in the area.

For his part, King Abdullah warned that an Israeli attack on Rafah would “undoubtedly cause another humanitarian catastrophe” and renewed his call for a lasting ceasefire. “This war must end,” he added.

The US government is not opposed to the Israeli army’s plans to “enter Rafah,” White House Security Council spokesman John Kirby said earlier, explaining, however, that Washington cautioned against launching a large-scale military operation “without a credible plan to the millions of people who have taken refuge in Rafa. Israel has an obligation to protect them.”