Biden makes first call to Abbas amid Israel-Gaza fighting

By Nidal al-Mughrabi and Rami Ayyub *

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas delivers a speech following the announcement by the U.S. President Donald Trump of the Mideast peace plan, in Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank

WASHINGTON/RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) -U.S. President Joe Biden on Saturday held his first phone call with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas since taking office, amid heavy fighting between Israel and Palestinian militant groups in the Gaza Strip.

Biden has dispatched an envoy to try to quell the violence that has killed dozens in Gaza and at least 10 in Israel, but U.S., regional and international efforts have yet to show any signs of progress.

Biden “stressed the need for Hamas to cease firing rockets into Israel”, and the two men “expressed their shared concern that innocent civilians, including children, have tragically lost their lives amidst the ongoing violence,” a summary of the call released by the White House said.

Biden also conveyed the “U.S. commitment to strengthening the U.S.-Palestinian partnership” and highlighted his administration’s recent decision to restore aid to the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza that had been cut under former President Donald Trump.

A summary of the call released by the official Palestinian news agency WAFA said Biden said he opposes the eviction of Palestinians from East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah, though the White House account of the conversation did not mention the case.

A long-running legal case over the evictions helped ignite tension in the holy city and spark fighting between Israel and Gaza militants.

Abbas’s Palestinian Authority (PA) has limited-self-rule in the occupied West Bank, part of territory Israel captured, along with Gaza and East Jerusalem, in the 1967 Middle East war.

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About Cholo Brooks 17959 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.

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