US President Joe Biden is expecting the ongoing violent clashes between Israelis and Palestinians will be “closing down sooner than later”, while urging for restoring a sustainable calm.
“My expectation and hope is that this will be closing down sooner than later, but Israel has a right to defend itself when you have thousands of rockets flying into your territory,” Biden told reporters at the White House on Wednesday.
Biden spoke on the phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier on Wednesday, in which he condemned rocket attacks against Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, Xinhua news agency quoted a White House readout of the conversation.
“He conveyed his unwavering support for Israel’s security and for Israel’s legitimate right to defend itself and its people, while protecting civilians,” said the readout.
“He also conveyed the US’ encouragement of a pathway toward restoring a sustainable calm.
“He shared his conviction that Jerusalem, a city of such importance to people of faith from around the world, must be a place of peace,” it added.
In a separate call with Netanyahu later in the day, Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated that all parties need to de-escalate tensions and bring a halt to the violence.
Blinken told reporters earlier that Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Israel and Palestinian Affairs Hady Amr will travel to the region immediately to meet Israeli and Palestinian leaders.
“He will urge, on my behalf and on behalf of President Biden, a de-escalation of violence. We are very focused on this,” Blinken said.
While recognising the Jewish’s right to self-defence, the top US diplomat stressed that “Israel has an extra burden in trying to do everything it possibly can to avoid civilian casualties”.
At least 65 in Gaza and seven in Israel were killed by hundreds of airstrikes and rockets fired in recent days, according to official reports.