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newsIsrael at War

Biden, Netanyahu discuss ongoing efforts to free remaining hostages

The president also stressed sustained humanitarian aid to Gaza and noted concern about settler violence against Palestinians in Judea and Samaria.

Families of Israelis still being held captive by Hamas terrorists in Gaza attend a candle-lighting ceremony on the first night of the Jewish holiday of Chanukah at Hostage Square in Tel Aviv on Dec. 7, 2023. Photo by Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90.
Families of Israelis still being held captive by Hamas terrorists in Gaza attend a candle-lighting ceremony on the first night of the Jewish holiday of Chanukah at Hostage Square in Tel Aviv on Dec. 7, 2023. Photo by Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90.

U.S. President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed the war between Israel and the Hamas terrorist organization in a phone call on Thursday.

According to a White House readout of the call, Biden described his concerns for hostages still being held captive in the Gaza Strip and said the Red Cross needed access to them. He acknowledged to Netanyahu that Hamas’s unwillingness to release young women was the main cause of the ceasefire breakdown on Dec. 1.

Biden and Netanyahu agreed to continue deep engagement and work towards “every possible opportunity to free the remaining hostages.”

The president stressed the importance of sustained humanitarian aid to Gaza and welcomed Israel’s decision to ensure that fuel levels met civilian needs. He also noted concern about settler violence against Palestinians in Judea and Samaria.

Biden also spoke on Thursday with Jordan’s King Abdullah about the war against Hamas. According to a readout of the call, Biden expressed his commitment to increasing aid to Palestinians and thanked Abdullah for his support in helping to promote stability in the Middle East.

Also on Thursday, Vice President Kamala Harris discussed violence against women, posting on X: “We’ve seen horrific reports of sexual assault by Hamas on Oct. 7. It is reprehensible and must be condemned. Rape can never be used as a weapon of war. I’ve spent my career protecting women and girls from heinous crimes of sexual violence and will continue to do so.”

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