President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. spoke this morning with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel.  The President and the Prime Minister discussed ongoing hostage negotiations taking place in Qatar.  They also discussed the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.  The President stressed the urgent need to significantly increase the flow of lifesaving aid reaching those in need throughout Gaza, with special emphasis on the north.  The President reiterated his deep concerns about the prospect of Israel conducting a major ground operation in Rafah, where more than one million displaced civilians are currently seeking shelter after fleeing fighting in the north.  The President affirmed the need to defeat Hamas in Gaza while also protecting the civilian population and facilitating the safe and unhindered delivery of assistance throughout Gaza.  The President and Prime Minster agreed to have their teams meet soon in Washington to exchange views and discuss alternative approaches that would target key elements of Hamas and secure the Egypt-Gaza border without a major ground operation in Rafah. 


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