Joe Biden has first publicly expressed support for a ceasefire as Israeli-Palestinian violence stretched into the second week, ramping up US efforts to end the fighting .
Biden spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday amid growing criticism from American progressives who want his government to put more pressure on him to stop hostilities in the Gaza Strip.
“The president expressed support for a ceasefire and discussed the US involvement with Egypt and other partners to achieve that goal,” a White House reading of Biden’s appeal with Netanyahu said.
Biden gave no indication of a timetable and the US relied on regional partners to negotiate a deal. The call came after Netanyahu said late on Sunday that the country would continue its military campaign against the Islamist group Hamas “with full force”, suggesting he had US backing.
“There is international pressure. There is always pressure, but all in all we get very serious support, first of all from the US, ”Netanyahu had said.
During the call, Biden reiterated “his strong support for Israel’s right to defend itself against arbitrary missile attacks” and welcomed efforts to address intercommunal violence and bring calm to Jerusalem, the lecture said.
Biden, a Democrat, “also encouraged Israel to do everything in its power to ensure the protection of innocent civilians.”
According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 212 Palestinians had died since Monday, including 61 women and 36 children. Israeli army officials say 130 of the dead are Hamas fighters and Gazan’s disputes estimate that more than half of the dead are women and children. Israel has reported 10 deaths as a result of the Hamas attacks, including two children.
The US had earlier on Monday blocked a UN Security Council statement calling for de-escalation, an end to violence and respect for international law, two UN diplomats said, the third time the US has issued a statement or softening measures since the violence has thwarted. began.
Israel has even condemned pro-Israel Democrats for targeting a building in Gaza that was home to international media outlets this weekend, claiming that Hamas – which has been designated by the US as a foreign terrorist organization – was operating from the same building.
Bob Menendez, the leading Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and an Israeli advocate, was among those who said he was ‘deeply disturbed’ by reports of Israeli military actions that had led to the deaths of innocent civilians in Gaza and targeted were on the building that was used. by media groups.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US had requested details to justify the decision to attack the building after the attack, but he himself had not seen any evidence.
Israel was surprised by the Hamas rocket fire that overtook Israeli defenses last week, and analysts say the country has since tried to gain the upper hand and destroy Hamas’s infrastructure. According to the IDF, the Israel Defense Forces carried out 1,500 attacks, while the Islamist group has launched more than 3,150 missiles since Monday last week.
Biden and Netanyahu have pledged to stay in direct contact and have spoken three times since last week since late Monday. The US has also sent Hady Amr, a State Department official, to the region.
Dennis Ross, a former Middle East negotiator under both the Democratic and Republican governments, said the reading of the call indicated that Biden was trying to bring the crisis to an end.
“It’s a subtle way of doing it [Biden] make the point clear: OK, you did what you had to do. Now is the time to find a way out, ”he said.