US President Joe Biden, in a call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu , expressed his support for a ceasefire in the fighting between Israeli forces and Hamas, the Palestinian military group in Gaza.
“The President expressed his support for a ceasefire and discussed US engagement with Egypt and other partners towards that end. The two leaders agreed that they and their teams would remain in close touch,” according to a readout of the call released by the White House.
In the call, Biden “reiterated his firm support for Israel’s right to defend itself against indiscriminate rocket attacks” and “encouraged Israel to make every effort to ensure the protection of innocent civilians.”
The call between Biden and Netanyahu on Monday was the third in less than a week as the violence has intensified.
The President welcomed efforts to address intercommunal violence and to bring calm to Jerusalem.The two leaders discussed “progress in Israel’s military operations against Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza.”
Egypt is considered a key interlocutor in dealing with Hamas and negotiating with the Israelis on efforts to achieve a cease-fire. The U.S. does not speak with Hamas, which it considers as a terrorist organization, The Hill reported.
Biden has faced increasing pressure from Democrats leading up to the call on Monday, particularly after an Israeli strike on a Gaza building that housed The Associated Press and other international media organizations. Israeli airstrikes are said to have killed at least 42 civilians in Gaza on Sunday.