It marks a shift from Biden’s public position of support for Israel’s right to defend itself from Hamas rocket attacks and follows another night of strikes against targets in Gaza.
‘The president conveyed to the prime minister that he expected a significant de-escalation today on the path to a ceasefire,’ said the White House.
President Biden urged Prime Minister Netanyahu to de-escalate strikes on Gaza in a phone call Wednesday
At least six people died in airstrikes in Gaza Wednesday as international pressure for a ceasefire grew
On Wednesday, Israeli airstrikes killed at least six people in Gaza as Netanyahu shrugged off growing international pressure for a ceasefire.
And Biden’s new public stance follows earlier reports that he privately told Netanyahu that he could not shield him from criticism indefinitely.
Biden has repeatedly said Israel has the right to defend itself while rockets are fired from Gaza.
But he came face to face with the anger within his own party about Israeli aggression on Tuesday, when he was confronted by Rep. Rashida Tlaib during a visit to Detroit.
Biden’s stance on Israel faces opposition from within his own party and on Tuesday Rep. Rashida Tlaib confronted the president, reportedly saying he must do more to address what she and other progressives see as Israeli aggression
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures as he shows a slideshow during a briefing to ambassadors to Israel at a military base in Tel Aviv on Wednesday
She told the president he must do more to protest Palestinian lives and human rights.
A White House spokeswoman offered more details on Wednesday’s phone call, which is the fourth between the two men.
‘The two leaders had a detailed discussion on the state of events in Gaza, Israel’s progress in degrading the capabilities of Hamas and other terrorist elements, and ongoing diplomatic efforts by regional governments and the United States,’ Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters traveling with the president aboard Air Force One.
Netanyahu has so far refused to consider a truce, saying Israel was fighting to restore peace and maximize the chances that a ceasefire with Hamas would hold.
‘There are only two ways that you can deal with them (Hamas): You can either conquer them, and that’s always an open possibility, or you can deter them, and we are engaged right now in forceful deterrence, but I have to say we don’t rule out anything,’ Netanyahu told foreign ambassadors in Tel Aviv on Wednesday.
Later he said the offensive would end when it had achieved its aims.
Smoke rises after Israeli army carried out attacks over buildings in Gaza City, as hostilities entered their tenth day
‘We’re not standing with a stopwatch,’ he told foreign journalists. ‘We are taking care of the operation’s objectives.’
Fighting began May 10 when Hamas fired rockets toward Jerusalem after days of clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli police at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, a flashpoint site sacred to Jews and Muslims.
Heavy-handed police tactics at the compound and the threatened eviction of dozens of Palestinian families by Jewish settlers had inflamed tensions.
At least 219 Palestinians have been killed in the current fighting, including 63 children and 36 women, with 1,530 people wounded, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad say at least 20 of their fighters have been killed, while Israel says the number is at least 130. Some 58,000 Palestinians have fled their homes.
Twelve people in Israel, including a 5-year-old boy and a soldier, have been killed.
The Israeli Defense Forces have launched hundreds of airstrikes it says are targeting Hamas’ militant infrastructure, while Palestinian militants have fired more than 3,700 rockets at Israel, with hundreds falling short and most of the rest intercepted. The rockets have reached a number of Israeli cities, including Tel Aviv, and have brought life to a standstill in areas near Gaza.