US President Joe Biden in his first phone call to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday urged “calm between Israel and Gaza” and “reaffirmed support for a two-state solution”, the official Palestinian news agency said.

Interestingly, Biden on Thursday expressed “strong support” for Israel’s “right to defend itself” in his phone call to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

During his call to Abbas, Biden said the United States “is making efforts with the concerned parties to reach the goal” of reducing violence in the region, a summary of the call published by WAFA said.

Biden also said the United States opposes the eviction of Palestinians from East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah.

ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: President Biden also spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu on Saturday and raised concerns about civilian casualties in Gaza and the bombing of the building that housed AP and other media offices.

In Gaza, at least 144 people have been killed since Monday, including 39 children and 22 women.

NETENYAHU THREATS: Meanwhile, Netanyahu, blaming Hamas for starting nearly a week of hostilities by firing rockets at Israel, threatened on Saturday Israel will continue to strike in Gaza as long as necessary and do its utmost to avoid civilian casualties.

“The party that bears the guilt for this confrontation is not us, it’s those attacking us,” Netanyahu said in a televised speech. “We are still in the midst of this operation, it is still not over and this operation will continue as long as necessary.”

Israel bombed the home of Hamas’s chief in Gaza early on Sunday and the Islamist group fired rocket barrages at Tel Aviv as hostilities stretched into a seventh day with no sign of abating.


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