Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu Rejects Biden’s Call for De-Escalation in Gaza

Israel unloaded another wave of airstrikes in Gaza after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected President Joe Biden’s call for a speedy de-escalation, The Associated Press reports.

Israeli airstrikes killed at least one Palestinian and wounded several others on Thursday and Hamas responded with more rocket attacks, most of which were blocked by Israel’s so-called Iron Dome defense system.

The Israeli military, which claims it is targeting “military infrastructure” despite destroying hundreds of residential homes and businesses, said it bombed the homes of three Hamas commanders and a weapons storage unit.

Hamas has fired over 4,000 rockets at Israel, killing 12 people including a child.

Israel’s airstrikes have killed at least 230 Palestinians, including 65 children, and wounded another 1,710 people. Hundreds of buildings were destroyed and tens of thousands of Palestinians have been displaced. More than 800,000 Gazans are reportedly without access to clean drinking water.

Netanyahu rejects Biden call:

Biden spoke to Netanyahu on Wednesday and urged a "significant de-escalation" within 24 hours, the White House said.

"The President conveyed to the Prime Minister that he expected a significant de-escalation today on the path to a ceasefire," the White House said.

Netanyahu said after the call that he "greatly appreciates the support of the American president," but said Israel is "determined to continue this operation until its aim is met."

Top Biden administration officials stressed to Israelis on Monday and Tuesday that “time is not on their side in terms of international objections,” according to the AP.

The Biden administration has repeatedly blocked a UN resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire and Biden has resisted calling for one himself, even as nearly 200 Democratic lawmakers including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have urged him to do so.

Hope for ceasefire remains:

Despite the continued fighting, the AP cited officials who believe that a ceasefire is likely by Friday.

Netanyahu is scheduled to meet with his Cabinet on Thursday to discuss a ceasefire.

A Hamas official also told the AP that a ceasefire was likely by the end of the week.

Despite the lack of US intervention, a Hamas leader told CNN that there is a “positive atmosphere” around the truce talks "thanks to the support of our Egyptian and Qatari brothers.”


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