Biden says Israel has right to defend itself after call with Netenyahu
"Israel has a right to defend itself when you have thousands of rockets flying into your territory," says Biden
President Joe Biden said that Israel had the right to defend itself and that he hoped the violence would end soon, following a phone call with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Speaking publicly for the first time since the violence in the region escalated, President Biden said: "My expectation and hope is that this will be closing down sooner rather than later, but Israel has a right to defend itself when you have thousands of rockets flying into your territory."
Following the phone call between Biden and Netanyahu, a statement released by the White House read: "He condemned the rocket attacks by Hamas and other terrorist groups, including against Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. He conveyed his unwavering support for Israel’s security and for Israel’s legitimate right to defend itself and its people, while protecting civilians."
The statement continued: "He also conveyed the United States’ 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."
This comes after approximately 67 people in Gaza have died, whilst at least seven people in Israel have also died during this week's attacks.
The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken emphasised this morning the need to "deescalate tensions" and "end rocket attacks."
I spoke with President Abbas about the ongoing situation in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza. I expressed condolences for the loss of life. I emphasized the need to end rocket attacks and deescalate tensions.
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) May 13, 2021
He added that "Israelis and Palestinians deserve equal measures of freedom, dignity, security, and prosperity."
Other world leaders, including the UK's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, have called for a de-escalation of violence from both sides.
On Twitter, the PM said: "I am urging Israel and the Palestinians to step back from the brink and for both sides to show restraint. The UK is deeply concerned by the growing violence and civilian casualties and we want to see an urgent de-escalation of tensions."
I am urging Israel and the Palestinians to step back from the brink and for both sides to show restraint. The UK is deeply concerned by the growing violence and civilian casualties and we want to see an urgent de-escalation of tensions.
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) May 12, 2021