US President Joe Biden voiced support for a ceasefire Monday as intensifying violence between Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza entered a second week.
During a telephone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Biden “expressed his support for a ceasefire and discussed US engagement with Egypt and other partners towards that end,” read a White House description of the call.
This was the first time the White House officially made mention of a ceasefire in its ongoing efforts to contain the situation. Yet the language stopped short of a full-on demand for cessation of violence, something some Democrats have been pressuring Biden to make.
It, instead, suggested Biden was seeking a diplomatic way to end the conflict by encouraging a halt to hostilities without calling explicitly for Israel to stand down.
A senior administration official said Biden is still not explicitly calling for a ceasefire.
This was the third time Biden had spoken to Netanyahu in a six-day stretch. Notable shifts in the administration’s language following each call have revealed heightened levels of concern over the growing conflict.
On Monday, the White House said Biden reiterated Israel’s right to defend itself but “encouraged Israel to make every effort to ensure the protection of innocent civilians.”
They also “discussed progress in Israel’s military operations against Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza.”