US President Biden: Israel "has a right to defend itself when you have thousands of rockets flying into your territory"
Joe Biden conveys 'his unwavering support for Israel’s security' during telephone call with Israeli leader: White House
US President Joe Biden said on Wednesday Israel "has a right to defend itself when you have thousands of rockets flying into your territory" as violence escalates.
Biden made the remarks to reporters after speaking by telephone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, adding he hopes the ongoing conflict "will be closing down sooner than later."
During his call with Netanyahu, the US president "conveyed the United States’ encouragement of a pathway toward restoring a sustainable calm," and "conveyed his unwavering support for Israel’s security and for Israel’s legitimate right to defend itself and its people, while protecting civilians," the White House said in a statement.
"He condemned the rocket attacks by Hamas and other terrorist groups, including against Jerusalem and Tel Aviv," it said. "He shared his conviction that Jerusalem, a city of such importance to people of faith from around the world, must be a place of peace."
Tensions have been running high since an Israeli court last week ordered the eviction of Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem, leading to Palestinian protests and Israeli attacks on Palestinian civilians, including worshippers at the city’s Al-Aqsa Mosque. The mosque is the third holiest in Islam.
The latest death toll from ongoing Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip rose to 65, including five women and 16 children, with 365 people injured, the Palestinian Health Ministry said on Wednesday. Heavy damage has also been recorded across Gaza's residential areas, including the leveling of multi-story buildings.
To date six Israelis have been killed in the recent violence – five of them in rocket attacks – in addition to one soldier killed when his military vehicle was struck.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and annexed the city in its entirety in 1980 – a move that has never been recognized by the international community.
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