US President Biden has had telephone conversations with Israeli Prime Minister Netayanhu and Palestinian President Abbas about the escalation of violence between Israel and the Palestinians. Biden called them after earlier in the day the Israeli Air Force destroyed an apartment building in Gaza City with missiles.
Inside the building were offices of media organizations Al Jazeera and Associated Press. There were no injuries because Israel had warned in advance so that the building could be evacuated. According to Israel, the building was also used by Hamas intelligence and the extremist organization Islamic Jihad.
A video on YouTube shows how journalists evacuate the building, following the warning:
Biden had also spoken to Netanyahu earlier this week, and there had been no contact with Abbas since the inauguration of the US president in January of this year. Abbas is the President of the Palestinian Authority in charge of the West Bank. Gaza, from which missiles are fired at Israel, is controlled by Hamas.
Abbas urged Biden to intervene in the conflict and put an end to the Israeli attacks on the Palestinians. According to the Palestinian news agency Wafa, Biden has said that the United States is ‘trying to reduce violence with the parties concerned’.
Wafa reports that Biden has also said that he is opposed to the expulsion of Palestinians from the Sheikh Jarrah district of East Jerusalem. This expulsion was the reason for the flaring up of violence. He would also have supported a two-state solution.
Prime Minister Netanyahu has assured Biden that the Israeli army is doing everything in its power to prevent innocent victims in the attacks. The US President said that Israel has the right to defend itself against the missile attacks by Hamas and other terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip. Netanyahu thanked Biden for that support.
Since the conflict began, 158 Palestinians have died in the Gaza Strip and in the West Bank, according to Palestinian sources. Ten people died on the Israeli side.
Journalists whose offices were destroyed posed at the debris of the collapsed building:
Prime Minister Netanyahu announced after the meeting with Biden that the attacks in Gaza will continue for the time being. Earlier this evening, an army spokesman had already said that on the night of Saturday to Sunday there will be targeted attacks on installations of Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
Conversely, Hamas threatened to fire missiles at Tel Aviv again.