In a statement on Monday after Biden had a call with Netanyahu, the White House said, “The President spoke today with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. The President reiterated his firm support for Israel’s right to defend itself against indiscriminate rocket attacks. The President welcomed efforts to address intercommunal violence and to bring calm to Jerusalem.”
“He encouraged Israel to make every effort to ensure the protection of innocent civilians. The two leaders discussed progress in Israel’s military operations against Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza. The President expressed his support for a ceasefire and discussed U.S. engagement with Egypt and other partners towards that end,” it added.
Read the statement below:
Biden calls for a ceasefire. pic.twitter.com/TJIs3wLeKa
— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) May 17, 2021
The statement comes as the conflict entered its second week, which has left at least 200 Palestinians dead after Israeli airstrikes. Additionally, at least 10 Israelis have died after rockets were fired by militants into population centers.
The death toll among Israelis is lower due to the country’s Iron Dome defense system, which intercepts short-range rockets fired by militants in Gaza. Israeli officials say the system is roughly 90% effective in blocking short-range rockets.
Until Monday, the White House had expressed support for Israel’s right to defend itself but had not publicly expressed support for a ceasefire.
As the conflict has raged on, Congressional Democrats have called for a ceasefire and urged Biden to adopt a tougher stance against Israel’s military actions.
During an interview on CBS News’ “Face The Nation” on Sunday, Netanyahu suggested there would not be an immediate ceasefire as he said Israel would “do whatever it takes to restore order and quiet … and we’re trying to degrade Hamas’s terrorist abilities and their ability to do this again.”
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