President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. spoke this afternoon with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel.  The leaders discussed developments in Gaza as well as ongoing efforts to locate and secure the release of hostages to include American citizens we believe are held by Hamas.  They also reviewed ongoing discussions to ensure safe passage for foreign nationals wishing to depart Gaza as soon as possible.  The President discussed ongoing U.S. support for the continuous flow of humanitarian support to the civilian population in Gaza and welcomed efforts to increase this support over the coming period.  The President reiterated that Israel has every right and responsibility to defend its citizens from terrorism and to do so in a manner consistent with international humanitarian law.  He also noted the importance of focusing on what comes after this crisis to include a pathway for a permanent peace between Israelis and Palestinians, emphasizing that Hamas does not represent the Palestinian people or their legitimate aspirations.  They agreed to remain in regular consultation both directly and through their respective national security teams. 


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