President Joe Biden pressed the Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu to bring the fighting with Palestinian militant group Hamas to a halt in a telephone call on Wednesday morning.
The White House announced that the two leaders had an in-depth conversation regarding the current events surrounding the Gaza Strip.
Their discussion included in particular Israel’s “progress” in destroying the capacities of Hamas and other terrorist groups as well as motions by diplomats from the region and the US to end the escalated conflict.
Biden did not demand from Netanyahu a ceasefire right away but told the Israeli leader he expected to see a major de-escalation today that would lead to that end.
The President noted American efforts in that regard with respect to contacts with Egypt and some other US partners in the region.
Biden went further, however, by pressing Israel to tackle intercommunal violence in the country, including in Jerusalem, and to guarantee that “innocent civilians” are protected.
He called upon Netanyahu to stop Israeli airstrikes on Gaza in case Hamas put an end to its rocket launching from there.
Israel won’t stop until it receives safety guarantees for its citizens
However, the Israeli leader responded that the fight would go on until Hamas’ military capacity is weakened.
On Wednesday, in his meeting with foreign ambassadors, Netanyahu stated that Israel was not seeking a mere tactical end to the current escalation but to achieve sustainable safety for Israeli citizens.
Reports also say he had been discussing with the Israeli military if the fighting had deterred Hamas. Israel has already killed 130 militants with hundreds of airstrikes.
According to Gaza officials, more than 200 people have been killed in the territory.
A total of 12 Israelis have died.
Israel puts the blame for the current escalation on Hamas saying the terrorist organization started firing rockets out of Gaza at Jerusalem on May 10.
According to a report by the NYT, which cites two sources familiar with the Biden – Netanyahu call, the US President told the Israeli leader that he was unable to stave off the mounting international pressure.
Biden himself has been under pressure from both the Democrats and the Republicans to intervene to end the conflict, although from different viewpoints.
Rep. Lee Zeldin of (R-NY) has called to “unequivocal” US support for Israel and its right to self-defense.
Ex-President Trump has blamed Biden for causing new attacks on US allies with his weakness and failure to back Israel.
Some Democrats have urged Biden to throw US weight behind the Palestinians, and have lambasted a USD 735 deal for the sale of US precision-guided weapons to Israel.