Biden urges Gaza-Israel calm in first call with Palestinian president

US president affirms his support for a two-state solution, opposes the eviction of Palestinians


Reuters May 15, 2021
PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

RAMALLAH/ WEST BANK:

US President Joe Biden urged calm between Israel and Gaza on Saturday and affirmed his support for a two-state solution in his first phone call with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas since taking office, the official Palestinian news agency said.

The conversation came amid heavy fighting between Israel and Palestinian groups in the Gaza Strip. Biden dispatched an envoy to the region on Friday to work for calm.

Biden told Abbas the United States "is making efforts with the concerned parties to reach the goal" of reducing violence in the region, a summary of the call published by WAFA said.

Biden also said the United States opposes the eviction of Palestinians from East Jerusalem's Sheikh Jarrah, the summary said, a case that helped ignite tension in the holy city and spark fighting between Israel and Gaza.

Also read: Israel missile strike destroys Gaza tower housing AP, Al Jazeera

Abbas's Palestinian Authority (PA) has limited-self rule in the occupied West Bank, part of territory Israel captured, along with Gaza and East Jerusalem, in the 1967 Middle East war.

But the PA exerts little influence over Gaza and its rulers Hamas, which seized control of the Palestinian enclave in 2007 after a bloody falling out with Abbas's Fatah party.

The US considers Hamas a terrorist organisation, and does not talk with the group.

Some analysts say Hamas appeared to see the escalation with Israel as an opportunity to marginalise Abbas and present itself as the guardian of Palestinians in Jerusalem, whose eastern sector they seek for a future state.

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