Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that he is “determined to continue this operation until its aim is met,” despite President Joe Biden’s call for a de-escalation of hostilities in Gaza.
In a statement from his office Wednesday, Netanyahu said that he “greatly appreciates the support of the American president,” but said Israel will push ahead “to return the calm and security to you, citizens of Israel.”
Netanyahu's statement came hours after Biden pressured Israel to end the war with the Palestinians, making clear in a call with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he expects "significant de-escalation" by day's end.
Biden asked Netanyahu to move "toward the path to a cease-fire," according to a White House description of their conversation.
In recent days, political and international pressure has mounted on Biden to intervene more forcefully to push an end to the hostilities.
Biden, until Wednesday, had avoided pressing Israel more directly and publicly for a cease-fire or conveyed that level of urgency for ending Israeli airstrikes targeting Hamas in the thickly populated Gaza Strip.
As the war escalated in the last week, Biden and White House officials preached de-escalation in the region but added that Israel had the right to defend itself.
While Hamas, a Palestinian fundamentalist military operation, has fired hundreds of rockets into Israel, Israeli defense systems have shot down the majority of the missiles. Israeli missile attacks on Palestinian settlements in Gaza have been much deadlier.
The New York Times reports that the war has killed dozens of people in the region and thousands have been left homeless.