President Joe Biden spoke to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday night, expressing support for Israel’s “right to defend itself” but at the same time calling for a ceasefire.
The exchange, the third since the current round of violence began, came hours after Netanyahu ordered more strikes against terrorist sites in the Gaza Strip.
Biden “encouraged Israel to make every effort to ensure the protection of innocent civilians,” a White House readout said, and added the two “discussed progress in Israel’s military operations against Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza.”
Biden also “welcomed efforts to address inter-communal violence” amid bloody riots in Israel’s mixed Arab-Jewish cities.
Biden told Netanyahu he had spoken with Egypt and other regional partners on brokering a ceasefire.
According to the Associated Press, which cited an anonymous source, the Biden administration “expressed support for” rather than demand a ceasefire because the U.S. is adamant to show support Israel’s right to defend itself from Hamas.
It’s 4:00 AM in #Gaza after a short calm during Monday night, warplanes launch over 30 air strikes in western part of #Gaza City and the northern Gaza Strip, targeting #Hamas security sites, infrastructure and main roads, credit Masdr news agency pic.twitter.com/jJxvENRPPT
— Rushdi Abualouf (@Rushdibbc) May 18, 2021
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday accused Biden of “bloody hands” because of his support of Israel.
“You forced us to say this. Because we can not stay silent on this anymore,” he said.