Joe Biden Calls For Middle East Cease Fire In Meeting

( President Joe Biden is trying hard to negotiate a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel in the Gaza Strip.

During a Monday phone call with Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel, Biden said he supported a ceasefire between the two sides. Violence in the region has amped up in recent days, with no end in sight.

These comments that come from the White House were the first public comments Biden has made regarding a ceasefire. Over the last week, Hamas has continued to fire rockets into Israel, while Israelis have responded by conducting airstrikes in the region.

In a readout of Biden’s call with Netanyahu, the White House said:

“The president expressed his support for a ceasefire and discussed U.S. engagement with Egypt and other partners towards that end.”

Egypt is being considered as a key negotiator when dealing with Hamas and trying to get them to come to the table to talk with Israelis about a ceasefire. America considers Hamas a terrorist organization, and has no contact with them.

In recent days, Democrats have put a lot of pressure on Biden to speak with Israel about stopping the violence. That came after Israel conducted an airstrike on a building in the Gaza strip that was home to international media organizations and The Associated Press.

On Sunday alone, airstrikes conducted by Israel killed at least 42 civilians in the area.

On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he wants “to see a ceasefire reached quickly and mourn the loss of life.”

Israel has said that the attack on the Gaza building the AP was in was a justified action. They said Hamas was operating out of that building, which they struck on Saturday.

Netanyahu has also defended all of his country’s airstrikes. These attacks are degrading the capabilities of Hamas, while also putting a price on their actions, he said.

Monday’s call between the two world leaders was the third one that took place over the last week that the violence has escalated.

The White House readout of the call explained:

“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.”

To this point, Biden hasn’t taken a very direct approach to the conflict in the Middle East. He’s only responded in written statements from the White House or brief comments when pressed by reporters.

At the same time, Biden administration senior officials have held as many as 60 calls with leaders from Israel, Palestine and regional partners to de-escalate the violence.

Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said on Monday that the goal is to bring an end to the fighting. And she said the details of how those negotiations are going, and what is being said in them, would remain private for now.