Biden reaches out to Israeli, Palestinian leaders amid conflict

Washington, May 16 (IANS): US President Joe Biden expressed concerns about the escalating conflict in the Gaza Strip in separate phone calls with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

During his call with Netanyahu, Biden on Saturday voiced concerns about violent confrontations in the West Bank and "shared his grave concern about the intercommunal violence across Israel", Xinhua news agency quoted a White House readout of the conversation.

He also raised concerns about "the safety and security of journalists and reinforced the need to ensure their protection", likely referring to an airstrike carried out by the Israeli military earlier in the day that destroyed a building housing international news organizations in Gaza.

Meanwhile, Biden "reaffirmed his strong support for Israel's right to defend itself against rocket attacks from Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza", said the readout.

Biden also held his first phone conversation with Abbas since he took office in January, in which he conveyed Washington's "commitment to strengthening the US-Palestinian partnership".

The two leaders discussed current tensions in Jerusalem and the West Bank and expressed their shared concern about the loss of civilian life in the ongoing violence, the White House said in a separate readout.

Biden emphasized to Abbas the need for Hamas to halt firing rockets into Israel.

He voiced his support for the two-state solution in speaking with both leaders.

The phone calls came amid escalating violence between the Israeli security forces and Palestinian militants.

Israeli fighter jets on Saturday bombed and demolished Jala Tower, a high-rise building in Gaza City housing Al-Jazeera TV and Associated Press (AP) offices, as well as residential apartments.

The building "contained military assets belonging to the intelligence offices of Hamas", said an Israeli military spokesperson in a statement.

AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt said ithat "we are shocked and horrified that the Israeli military would target and destroy the building housing AP's bureau and other news organizations in Gaza".

"We narrowly avoided a terrible loss of life," he said.

"A dozen AP journalists and freelancers were inside the building and thankfully we were able to evacuate them in time."

The ongoing conflict was the worst violence between Israel and the besieged Palestinian enclave since 2014.

Militant groups in Gaza continued firing barrages of rockets targeting cities in northern, central and southern Israel.

A spokesperson of the Israeli army said that more than 200 rockets were fired from Gaza at Israel in the last 12 hours, while the overall number since Monday increased to over 1,800.

Meanwhile, the Health Ministry in Gaza said that since Monday more than 140 Palestinians have been killed, including 40 children and 20 women, and about 1,000 others injured.

The rocket attacks have also killed at least nine Israelis and wounded 200 others so far.



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Comment on this article

  • Kiran Dsouza, Bangalore

    Sun, May 16 2021

    Whole world is missing the great leader former US president Donald J Trump.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • Alphonse Rodrigues, Udupi

    Sun, May 16 2021

    @geoffrey hathill, Jesus came down from heaven to give salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ shed on the cross to the humans of this earth planet ones for all. He gave us a permanent passport and visa to enter into His heavenly kingdom. Hebrews 9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. Leviticus 17:11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul. So the atonement was prescribed on the day when Adam sinned against God’s commandment. Genesis 3:15 15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. It was predestined in the beginning itself. It is not that Israel killed Jesus, It is we all humans have killed Him because He bore all our sins and nailed on the cross.

    DisAgree Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse

  • geoffrey, hat hill

    Sun, May 16 2021

    If you believe in predestination, accept Covid also part of predestination. Why blame China?

    DisAgree [2] Agree Report Abuse

  • Glen, Mangalore

    Mon, May 17 2021

    Your heart is beating for China communists and jihadis. Fake ID.

    DisAgree Agree [1] Report Abuse

  • Bhavya Baliga, Udupi

    Sun, May 16 2021

    Israel is capable of ruling the world (except, of course India) if willing.

    DisAgree [9] Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • Moshu, Mangaluru

    Sun, May 16 2021

    Merely an wash..

    DisAgree [4] Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jossey Saldanha, Mumbai

    Sun, May 16 2021

    Luckily Israel has not gone Nuclear ...

    DisAgree [5] Agree [9] Reply Report Abuse

  • John, Mangalore

    Sun, May 16 2021

    Fight against Israel is it Greed of human beings?... God chose very small country in the middle of the World for Himself rest He gave to humans. But man with such a greed not allowing God a small piece of land inspite of given vast land, nations in the world. Such narrow thinking of many or their unsatisfied greed for control and supremacy. Same being used by communist for their total control of the world! Better to Pray for the Peace, instead of communists bringing their Godless Rule everywhere blaming religions! And thus facing God's fearful wrath!

    DisAgree [2] Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

  • geoffrey, hat hill

    Sun, May 16 2021

    Do you know you are defending acts of those who rejected and crucified Christ?

    DisAgree [9] Agree [4] Report Abuse

  • Glen, Mangalore

    Sun, May 16 2021

    Why are you jealous of India Israel relationships.

    DisAgree [3] Agree [9] Report Abuse

  • Glen, Mangalore

    Sun, May 16 2021

    God has forgiven Israel.

    DisAgree [5] Agree [5] Report Abuse

  • John, Mangalore

    Sun, May 16 2021

    Do you want to support greed, hatred, atheism, pride, more killings? or Peace?

    DisAgree [1] Agree Report Abuse

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