Following a recent bloodshed, the US is stepping up diplomatic attempts to bring an end to the conflict between security forces of Israel and the Palestinian militant organization, Hamas, that rules Gaza.
On Wednesday, President Biden called Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, emphasizing Israel’s right to defend its territory in the face of thousands of rockets crashing through its land.
This massive firing of rockets, along with lethal Israeli airstrikes, has killed civilians on both sides, while dozens of Israeli-Arab street clashes have erupted within Israel, posing a fresh threat of bloodshed that may rapidly deteriorate.
The Biden administration has repeatedly urged “all sides” to de-escalate, drawing fire from both American conservatives and leftists, who argue that the power balance is asymmetrical and Israel’s reaction has been excessive.
Hady Amr, Senior US diplomat who also acts as an assistant secretary for Palestinian and Israeli relations, is now wading into those waters. Amr was sent to the region on Wednesday by Secretary of State Antony Blinken to speak with Palestinian and Israeli officials and advocate de-escalation.
According to the Associated Press, Gaza’s death toll has risen to 65 Palestinians, including 16 girls, and at least 365 others, including 86 children. On the Israeli side, seven people have been killed and hundreds more injured as Hamas fires numerous rockets.
Biden made his statement on the subject on Wednesday, telling reporters, that his belief and desire is that this can be resolved sooner rather than later.
Following that, a White House readout said that Biden expressed his unwavering support for Israel’s stability and for Israel’s legal right to self-defense and to protect civilians. The brief statement included no reference to Palestinian civilian killings or Israeli acts that contributed to the outbreak of this round of clashes, such as possible evictions of Palestinians from East Jerusalem or the use of force against Muslims on the Temple Mount.
Blinken had been more complex earlier in the day, criticizing Hamas’ barrage of missile fire while adding that Israel has extra duty to prevent civilian casualties and that Palestinians have their right to security and safety.
He stated that the US is well engaged on all fronts even with the Palestinian leadership and that the most critical thing now is for all sides to pause the conflict, de-escalate, and attempt to restore peace.
To that end, he also met with Netanyahu on Wednesday and reiterated the importance of Israelis and Palestinians living in protection and stability, as well as enjoying fair levels of rights, protection, development, and democracy.