President Biden spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu on Monday to discuss the Israeli bombing campaign in Gaza. Biden expressed “support” for a ceasefire but does not appear to be putting any pressure on Israel to stop its onslaught.
“The President expressed his support for a ceasefire and discussed US engagement with Egypt and other partners towards that end,” the White House said in a readout of the call. Biden also “reiterated his firm support for Israel’s right to defend itself.”
While the president claims he supports a ceasefire, the US has been preventing international calls for one. At the UN, the US has blocked three Security Council statements that would have urged for a ceasefire.
Comments from Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday suggested that while the US might “support” a ceasefire, Washington is not pressuring Israel to seek one. “Ultimately, it is up to the parties to make clear that they want to pursue a ceasefire,” he said.
An unnamed Israeli official told Axios that the Biden administration hasn’t given Israel a deadline for reaching a ceasefire but has expressed that the US could only block UN efforts towards one for so long.
Last week, Hamas made a proposed a ceasefire through the Russian foreign ministry, but the Israelis rejected the offer and chose to escalate their bombing campaign instead. Also last week, Biden said Israel’s bombing campaign is not a “significant overreaction” to the rocket fire out of Gaza despite the disproportionate number of Palestinian casualties, including many children.
So far, Israeli airstrikes have killed 212 Palestinians in Gaza, including 61 children. In Israel, 10 people have been killed by Gaza rocket fire, including two children. The US has condemned the rockets launched from Gaza but has failed to condemn or even really discuss the dozens of children killed by Israeli bombs.