Biden calls Netanyahu after rejection of the Palestinian government in Gaza: What did they talk about?

US President Joe Biden spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the first time in almost four weeks, amid tensions over plans for post-war Gaza.

Their conversation came a day after the Israeli leader rejected calls from the United States and Arab nations for the Palestinian Authority to govern Gaza following the war with Hamas. Netanyahu said Israel will insist on maintain security control of both Gaza and the West Bankwhich the Palestinians claim as a future state.

Those comments prompted a rebuke from the U.S. State Department, which said there could be no lasting peace in the region without an eventual state for the Palestinians alongside Israel.

What did the US propose to Israel this Friday, January 19?

On Friday, US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Biden laid out “his vision of a more lasting peace and security for Israel, fully integrated within the region and a two-state solution with Israel’s security guarantee”.

“The president still believes in the promise of the possibility of a two-state solution and recognizes that it will require a lot of hard work,” Kirby said. “It will take a lot of leadership in the region.”

Kirby denied that Netanyahu’s comments were the reason for the call and told reporters that they “should not interpret the fact that the call occurred today as some sort of response to the prime minister’s discussions or comments yesterday.”

The White House said the leaders discussed efforts to secure the release of hostages held in Gaza, as well as Israel’s changing military strategy against Hamas and the efforts to send humanitarian aid to Palestinians. Biden also welcomed Israel’s announcement to allow flour to be shipped for humanitarian assistance through the port of Ashdod, Kirby told reporters.

Biden and Netanyahu last spoke on December 23. The leaders spoke much more frequently after the Oct. 7 massacre by Hamas, which killed 1,200 people and resulted in the capture of about 250 more. The United States and the European Union designate Hamas as a terrorist group.

The White House downplayed the length between the calls, saying the two spoke when necessary and there would be more discussions.

“This was a call that we’ve actually been trying to get into the schedule for quite some time,” Kirby said Friday.

About 24,000 people have died in Gaza since the outbreak of the conflict with Israel that followed, according to the territory’s Health Ministry.