United States President Joe Biden on 17 May voiced support for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in a call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“The President expressed his support for a ceasefire and discussed US engagement with Egypt and other partners towards that end,” White House readout of the phone conversation.
United States President Joe Biden “encouraged Israel to make every effort to ensure the protection of innocent civilians,” said the readout.
Meanwhile, Biden reiterated support for Israel’s right to defend itself against rocket attacks. “The two leaders discussed progress in Israel’s military operations against Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza,” it said.
United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken earlier in the day held multiple phone conversations over the issue with his regional counterparts, including Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi.
The Monday call between Biden and Netanyahu was the third in less than a week as violence escalated between the Israeli security forces and Palestinian militants in Gaza, the Xinhua news agency reported.
The call came as the Biden administration faced mounting pressure from a group of Democratic senators urging an immediate ceasefire to prevent loss of civilian life.
Biden had earlier spoken to Netanyahu on 15 May and condemned the indiscriminate attacks against towns and cities across Israel.
Meanwhile, the Israeli military has said that Hamas and other Palestinian groups had fired about 3,350 rockets from Gaza – 200 of them on Monday alone – and that Israeli air and artillery strikes had killed at least 130 militants.
The conflict between Israel and Palestine escalated after Muslim worshippers at al Aqsa mosque at Temple Mount in Jerusalem created a ruckus and hit security personnel stationed there, injuring 17 of them, and Israeli forces retaliated, which left scores of Palestinians wounded.