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Gaza war: What did Joe Biden discuss during phone call with Israel’s Netanyahu?

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US President Joe Biden discussed the Gaza war situation over phone with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday. Biden urged Netanyahu to ensure the protection of civilians amid the ongoing war, reported news agency AFP.

US president Joe Biden(right) and Israeli prime minster Benjamin Netanyahu(Reuters)
US president Joe Biden(right) and Israeli prime minster Benjamin Netanyahu(Reuters)

“The President emphasized the critical need to protect the civilian population including those supporting the humanitarian aid operation, and the importance of allowing civilians to move safely away from areas of ongoing fighting,” the White House said in a statement.

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In an interaction with reporters at the White House, Biden said he had a “long talk” with Netanyahu and termed it “a private conversation.” Responding to a follow-up question, Biden said, “I did not ask for a ceasefire.”

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The White House informed that the two leaders also discussed the “objectives and phasing” of Israel’s military offensive in Gaza. Discussions also have happened over securing the release of all remaining hostages held by the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas. Notably, as per Israel, 129 hostages are still under captivity in Gaza.

The conversation between Biden and Netanyahu took place after the UN Security Council passed a resolution on Friday, demanding “safe and unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance at scale.” The Council didn’t call for a ceasefire in Gaza and thus avoided a US veto.

However, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said a “humanitarian ceasefire” is the only way for aid “to be effectively delivered.”

Earlier, a brief truce had taken place between Israel and Hamas in November. During the truce, 105 hostages, including 80 Israelis were released in exchange for the freedom of 240 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons. However, the war had resumed after negotiations to extend the truce failed.

Reportedly, Israel is trying for a new deal to ensure the release of remaining hostages. Qatar has been mediating deals between Israel and Hamas.

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