Sat. May 25th, 2024

President Biden held an emergency phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday to urge Israel to work to protect civilian lives as it retaliates for Hamas’ savage attacks earlier this month.

Biden said Israel has the right to defend itself — but that it must do so “in a manner consistent with international humanitarian law that prioritizes the protection of civilians,” according to a White House summary of the exchange.

The two men also discussed how they could track down and free the estimated 200 hostages Hamas snatched during its Oct. 7 raid, as well as the need to “immediately and significantly” boost the flow of humanitarian aid into the embattled Gaza Strip, the Biden administration said.

The president “welcomed the first two convoys of humanitarian assistance since Hamas’s October 7 terrorist attack, which crossed the border into Gaza and is being distributed to Palestinians in need,” according to Politico.

“The leaders affirmed that there will now be continued flow of this critical assistance into Gaza,” the website said, referencing the readout.

The convoys reached Gaza this weekend, Politico said.

President Biden held an emergency phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday.AP/Carolyn Kaster
Biden urged Israel to protect civilian lives as it retaliates for Hamas’ savage attacks earlier this month.AFP via Getty Images

Another fleet of 15 trucks was expected to cross into the war-torn enclave Sunday night, said US Special Envoy for Middle East Humanitarian Issues David Satterfield on MSNBC’s “Inside with Jen Psaki” on Sunday.

Israeli counterstrikes — which the country began after gunmen from Hamas crossed the Israeli border Oct. 7, kidnapping and butchering civilians as they went — have had a devastating impact on the 2.3 million people who live in the Gaza Strip.

An ongoing blockade also has pushed the Palestinian population to the brink of starvation, according to Cindy McCain, executive director of the UN’s World Food Program, to Politico.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses a press conference in The Kirya military base in Tel Aviv, Israel.ABIR SULTAN/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

There has been worldwide pressure for a cease-fire in the conflict.

In the ensuing violence, more than 1,400 Israelis have died and 5,000 wounded.

The Palestinians have reported far worse casualty rates: 8,000 killed and more than 22,000 wounded.

More than 1.4 million Palestinians in Gaza have been displaced — well over half the population of the small strip of land by the Mediterranean — in the war begun by the local terror group.

With Post wires

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