Israel-Gaza violence: Joe Biden calls for ceasefire

Israel-Gaza violence: Joe Biden calls for ceasefire

US President Joe Biden has voiced his support for a ceasefire after eight days of violence between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza.

Mr Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the US was working with Egypt and other countries on halting hostilities.

But the US again blocked a UN Security Council statement calling for a cessation of violence.

The conflict is now in its second week, with little sign of ending.

At least 212 people, including 61 children, have died in Gaza, and 10, including two children, in Israel.

Israel says most of those killed in Gaza are militants and that any civilian deaths are unintentional.

But Hamas, the militant group that runs the territory, disputes this

According to a White House statement, Mr Biden “encouraged Israel to make every effort to ensure the protection of innocent civilians”.

“The two leaders discussed progress in Israel’s military operations against Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza,” it added.

President Biden “expressed his support for a ceasefire and discussed US engagement with Egypt and other partners towards that end”, it said.

The violence has prompted increasing concern internationally.

World leaders and humanitarian organisations have called for measures to prevent the deaths of residents and the chaos wrought by the destruction of buildings and infrastructure.

The US has – for the third time – blocked efforts at the UN Security Council to issue a statement calling on Israel to stop its military offensive, stressing instead its own diplomatic efforts.

“Our calculation at this point is that having those conversations behind the scenes … is the most constructive approach we can take,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters.

What is the latest on the ground?
Israel continued to pummel Gaza with air strikes overnight after Palestinian militants launched rockets at Israeli cities on Monday. Israeli leaders have also, again, vowed to keep up their campaign.

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The armed wing of Hamas promised more rockets in return.

 

BBC