United States’ President, Joe Biden on Saturday extended a phone call to his Palestinian counterpart, Mahmoud Abbas for the first time since taking office.
The call was put through by the White House over concerns trailing the heavy fighting between Israel and Palestinian militant groups in the Gaza Strip that have lasted one week and cost the lives of at least 145 people including 41 children.
The death toll rises every hour as Israeli forces continue to pound airstrikes on Gaza and the Hamas militant group also respond with rocket launches.
Although Biden seeming much worried about the conflict sent an envoy to try to quell the violence, efforts from the US, regional and international bodies have yielded no significant progress.
Biden, who has continued to show support for Israel, “stressed the need for Hamas to cease firing rockets into Israel” in the call to Abbas.
The two leaders “expressed their shared concern that innocent civilians, including children, have tragically lost their lives amidst the ongoing violence,” a summary of the call released by the White House said.
A summary of the call released by the official Palestinian news agency WAFA said Biden said he opposes the eviction of Palestinians from East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah, though the White House account of the conversation was mute on this.
The intense fighting was ignited last week as Palestinians got provoked by Israeli nationalists who marched on Jerusalem Day, seeking their eviction despite the long-running legal case over the matter.
The Hamas, with which Israeli forces have continued to exchange airstrikes, seized control of the Palestinian enclave in 2007 after a bloody falling out with Abbas’s Fatah party, leaving Abbas’s Palestinian Authority (PA) with limited-self rule in Gaza, a part of the territory captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war.