According to a White House spokeswoman, US President Joe Biden urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday to quickly de-escalate tensions in the Gaza conflict and put it “on the path” to a cease-fire.
The fourth phone call between the two leaders in a week came after Israeli media cited Netanyahu, saying he was not setting a timetable for resolving the more than a week-long conflict. Even among Democrats, Biden has come under pressure to play a more active and public role in mediating a cease-fire.
“The two leaders had a detailed discussion on the state of events in Gaza, Israel’s progress in degrading the capabilities of Hamas and other terrorist elements, and ongoing diplomatic efforts by regional governments and the United States,” White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters.
“The president conveyed to the prime minister that he expected a significant de-escalation today on the path to a cease-fire,” Jean-Pierre added.
The call came just before Biden left Washington for a Coast Guard graduation ceremony in Connecticut. According to Palestinian medical authorities, 219 civilians were killed in 10 days of aerial bombing, which damaged bridges, buildings, and other facilities and exacerbated Gaza’s already desperate humanitarian situation.
Israeli officials have set the death toll in Israel at 12, citing repeated rocket attacks that have sparked confusion and sent residents fleeing to shelters. Regional and US-led diplomatic attempts to secure a truce have escalated, but have so far been unsuccessful.
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