President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. spoke this morning with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel regarding the latest developments in Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank. The President and the Prime Minister discussed ongoing efforts to secure the release of hostages held by Hamas, including many children and a number of American citizens.  The two leaders welcomed the increase in humanitarian assistance over the past week and discussed the necessity to significantly ramp up deliveries over the coming week, including by increasing the capacity to screen and stage trucks going into Gaza.  The President reiterated his steadfast support for Israel and the protection of Israeli citizens from Hamas and all other threats while also emphasizing the imperative to protect Palestinian civilians and reduce civilian harm in the course of military operations.  The two leaders discussed the possibility of tactical pauses to provide civilians with opportunities to safely depart from areas of ongoing fighting, to ensure assistance is reaching civilians in need, and to enable potential hostage releases.  The President also discussed the situation in the West Bank and the need to hold extremist settlers accountable for violent acts. They agreed to speak again in the coming days.


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