Washington [US] May 16: President Joe Biden on Saturday held telephonic conversation with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and discussed the violence in Gaza, in which he called for Hamas, the authority’s rival, to stop firing rockets into Israel.
It was the first phone call between the two leaders since Biden assumed office.
President Biden “stressed the need for Hamas to cease firing rockets into Israel”, and the two men “expressed their shared concern that innocent civilians, including children, have tragically lost their lives amidst the ongoing violence,” the White House said.
The White House says Biden “expressed his support for steps to enable the Palestinian people to enjoy the dignity, security, freedom, and economic opportunity that they deserve” and highlighted the recent US decision to resume assistance to the Palestinian people, including economic and humanitarian assistance to benefit Palestinians in the West bank and Gaza.
Both the leaders discussed the current tensions in Jerusalem and the West Bank and expressed their shared desire for Jerusalem to be a place of peaceful coexistence for people of all faiths and backgrounds, it said.
The President also underscored his strong commitment to a negotiated two-state solution as the best path to reach a just and lasting resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The President also spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and reaffirmed his strong support for Israel’s right to defend itself against rocket attacks from Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza.
Biden noted in his conversation with Netanyahu that “this current period of conflict has tragically claimed the lives of Israeli and Palestinian civilians, including children,” according to a readout of the call released by the White House.
Israeli warplanes on Saturday destroyed a building in Gaza City with offices of various media groups, including Al Jazeera and the American Associated Press. At least 139 people, including 39 children and 22 women, have been killed and 950 more injured in the Israeli attacks on Gaza.