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Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu


The U.S. is leading diplomatic efforts to de-escalate the Middle East. US President Joe Biden has now expressed concern about "extremist" settlers in the West Bank and condemned violence against Palestinians. I remain concerned about attacks by extremist settlers on Palestinians in the West Bank," Biden said at a news conference on Wednesday. This has to stop now."

Such attacks are like pouring gasoline on the fire, Biden said. According to the UN Human Rights Office, violence by armed Israeli settlers against Palestinians is on the rise.

He reiterated that Israel had the right and responsibility to respond to the attacks of Hamas terrorists. "But that does not diminish the need to act in accordance with the laws of war. Israel must do everything in its power to protect innocent civilians, however difficult that may be," the US president warned. Israel should focus on "persecuting the people who are propagating this war against Israel."

Biden, in his own words, did not "ask" Israel to postpone the announced ground offensive. He had made it clear to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that – if possible – the hostages in Gaza should be freed safely, Biden said at the press conference. "It's their decision. But I didn't ask for it," he continued. Biden had been asked whether he had received assurances from Netanyahu that the ground offensive would be postponed until the release of the hostages was ensured. To which Biden said, "No."

Many hostages still in the hands of Hamas

Netanyahu announced the ground offensive after Hamas killed hundreds of people and abducted more than 7 in terrorist attacks on Israeli territory on October 200. U.S. media had reported in recent days that the U.S. had urged Israel to wait with the ground offensive in the Gaza Strip to fight the Islamist Hamas organization.

The U.S. government hopes to gain more time to negotiate the release of the hostages in the hands of Hamas, it said. Among them are numerous U.S. citizens.