With the death toll rising in the fighting between Israel and Gaza, President Joe Biden made a call to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urging him to enact a ceasefire.

Palestinians from Hamas have launched about 3,500 rockets at Israel while the IDF has responded with massive airstrikes that have targeted Hamas military officials and infrastructure.  

His call to Netanyahu was the second this week. It was followed by a carefully worded statement, released by the White House on Monday.

President Biden “encouraged Israel to make every effort to ensure the protection of innocent civilians,” the White House said in its statement.

While the president urged a ceasefire to stop the bloodshed, he remains steadfast in supporting that Israel has the right to defend itself. Meanwhile, Netanyahu said to his security officials that Israel would “continue to strike terror targets” in Gaza “as long as necessary in order to return calm and security to all Israeli citizens.”

The Conflict Has Created Ripples in US Politics

Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Biden
Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Biden in an older photograph. (Reuters)

The U.S. blocked another UN Security Council statement on Monday that would have expressed “grave concern” over the increasing Israeli-Palestinian violence and the loss of civilian life on both sides. This was the third time Washington has blocked the 15-member Security Council from reaching what would have been a unanimous decision on the subject.

Biden is getting more and more pressure from Democratic Congress members to react forcefully to the violence in the region. Rep. Cori Bush, (D-MO), tried to paint the Palestinians in the same light as black Americans.

“We oppose our money going to fund militarized policing, occupation, and systems of violent oppression and trauma,” Rep. Bush posted on Twitter.