President Joe Biden had phone calls with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the White House said Saturday.
The calls come amidst escalated tensions and rocket attacks in the region.
“The President reaffirmed his strong support for Israel’s right to defend itself against rocket attacks from Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza,” the White House said of Biden’s call with Netanyahu. “He condemned these indiscriminate attacks against towns and cities across Israel.”
“The President updated the Prime Minister on high-level U.S. engagement with regional partners on this issue and discussed ongoing diplomatic efforts,” the press released added.
During the call, President Biden also raised concern for the safety of journalists covering the events and maintained the need to protect them, according to the White House. (RELATED: Israeli Airstrike Demolishes Gaza Building That Held Al Jazeera, Associated Press Offices)
Both Biden and Netanyahu expressed a share desire to have Jerusalem be a safe place of peaceful coexistence for people of all religions.
WATCH as a Hamas rocket aimed at Israel misfires and falls back into Gaza.
But this isn’t the 1st time—Hamas misfired 350 rockets in the last 3 days.
These rockets result in the deaths of innocent Gazan civilians.
It’s time for the world to hold Hamas accountable. pic.twitter.com/vmhmXTZrl6
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) May 13, 2021
Both leaders agreed to remain in touch amid the current tensions.
On his call with Abbas, Biden voiced his support for strengthening the U.S.-Palestinian relationship. Both leaders expressed a shared desire for peace and coexistence in Jerusalem and the West Bank, according to the White House
“President Biden updated President Abbas on U.S. diplomatic engagement on the ongoing conflict and stressed the need for Hamas to cease firing rockets into Israel,” the press release said. “They expressed their shared concern that innocent civilians, including children, have tragically lost their lives amidst the ongoing violence. The President expressed his support for steps to enable the Palestinian people to enjoy the dignity, security, freedom, and economic opportunity that they deserve.”
Biden also highlighted the U.S.’s foreign policy reversal to resume economic and humanitarian aid to the people in Gaza and the West Bank, the White House 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 release concluded.