Americas, Middle East

Biden expresses support for cease-fire in call with Netanyahu

US president 'encourages Israel to make every effort to ensure protection of innocent civilians,' says White House

Servet Günerigök   | 18.05.2021
Biden expresses support for cease-fire in call with Netanyahu

WASHINGTON 

US President Joe Biden voiced support for a cease-fire between Israel and Palestine amid the former's continued airstrikes in Gaza, during his phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the White House said on Monday. 

"The President expressed his support for a cease-fire and discussed US engagement with Egypt and other partners towards that end," the statement added.

During the call, Biden "reiterated his firm support for Israel’s right to defend itself against indiscriminate rocket attacks," said the statement

The US president "encouraged Israel to make every effort to ensure the protection of innocent civilians," it said, noting the two men "discussed progress in Israel’s military operations against Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza”.

Biden and Netanyahu also pledged to remain in close touch.

Earlier, Secretary of State Antony Blinken had a phone call with Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, during which he "discussed US efforts to bring an end to the violence, which has claimed the lives of Israeli and Palestinian civilians, including children.

"The secretary also expressed deep concern at the inter-communal violence," said State Department Spokesman Ned Price in a statement.

The Israeli military has staged airstrikes across the Gaza Strip since May 10, leaving behind a massive trail of destruction across the seaside territory, including the leveling of several multi-story buildings.

The death toll from Israel's ongoing assault on Gaza reached 212 on Monday, according to the Gaza-based Palestinian Health Ministry. The grim figure includes 61 children, 35 women, and 16 elderly people, the ministry said in a statement, while 1,400 people have been injured during the offensive.

Ten Israelis have also been killed in Palestinian rocket fire from the Gaza Strip into Israel.

The UN estimates some 38,000 Palestinians have sought shelter at dozens of UN schools across the Gaza Strip after being displaced by Israel’s continued attacks. Over 2,500 people have been made homeless after their houses were destroyed by Israeli strikes, according to the UN.

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