President Biden says he expects violence in Israel to end “sooner rather than later,” and that the nation has a right to defend itself, after a call on Wednesday with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“My expectation and hope is that this will be closing down sooner rather than later,” the president told reporters on Wednesday after his conversation with the Israeli PM.
At least 72 people have died in fighting between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants, many of them Palestinian civilians, including at least 16 children and 5 women.
The US State Department has urged “calm” and “de-escalation on all sides.”
Serious fighting between Israel and militants in Gaza began on Monday, but tensions had been building for days and decades beforehand.
The renewed violence, the first time Hamas has fired rockets at Jerusalem in seven years, has a number of different causes.
One is a recent effort to evict Palestinians from the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah, a contested part of the city Israel annexed during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, which most of the international community has not recognized as a legitimate claim.